by Cheryl S. Atkins, MPA
Do you know what CRS is? The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program for communities participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The CRS program has three published goals: 1) reduce flood damages to insurable property, 2) strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and 3) encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management. Has your community applied for this very important FEMA designation? Deltona’s designation is effective May 1, 2015. A community can apply for the designation at any time, but there are only two “effective as of” dates each year. You are either approved to be in the program effective on May 1st or October 1st, depending on when your application and material have been verified.
The objective of the CRS is to reward communities that go above and beyond the minimum NFIP requirements to help their citizens prevent or reduce flood losses. Beginning the process is easy – just send a “Community Letter of Interest to Join the CRS” to your FEMA Regional Office. A sample is available at www.crsresources.org; along with that letter send a “CRS Quick Check” form (Form). The Form is a series of yes/no questions. A team of Deltona employees answered them for our submission. The members of the group were from the Storm Water, Public Works, Building, Planning and Finance Divisions.
When all of the tallying is complete and your Community can display 500 points or more, then you are in! “How do I get points?” you may be asking. Well there are four main categories of questions and each category has some sub-categories all ranging in point values from 0 to 1,450. See the table from the CRS 2013 Coordinator’s Manual “Credit points awarded for CRS activities” attached to this article.
As we verify that the City is doing more to bring attention to the risks of flooding and mitigating flooding, we will receive more points and our Class level will “lower.” Now that Deltona is “in”, our residents will save 5% on their flood insurance premiums in the Special Flood Hazard Zone (SFHZ), and 5% on flood insurance premiums outside the SHFZ. Unincorporated Volusia County has achieved a Class 5 which gives the residents of Unincorporated Volusia County a 30% discount in the SFHZ and a 10% discount outside the SFHZ. The CRS program discounts on flood insurance premiums goes to a maximum of Class 1 which allows a 45% discount for those in the SFHZ and 10% for those outside the SFHZ.
|CRS Class||Credit Points||Discount in SFHA||Discount outside SFHA|
Some minus-rated policies may not be eligible for CRS premium discounts.
Premium discounts are subject to change.
-from CRS Coordinators Manual, Page 110-3, 2013 edition.
Think about the benefit your residents could enjoy just for your City participating in this program. Let’s make no mistake about it: this program is based on record keeping and red tape. (Isn’t that what FEMA stands for?) For this program the record keeping is well worth the $100’s of thousands of dollars Floridians are saving on their insurance premiums. Since the NFIP is out these premium dollars they have to make sure that Cities are truly requiring compliance with elevation certificates, base flood elevations, public education, information etc. This is achieved by requiring documentation and verification visits.