Hello, Chris Green here with the Flood Insurance Guru.  Today we're talking about saving lives using CPR. It's really important that everybody understand CPR because you never know when you're going to be able to use it. However, what's also important for people to understand is the community rating system that FEMA uses for your local community. The measures that are used in this program can save many lives like CPR can, just in a different way. So today we want to talk about what is the community rating system? How does it impact your flood insurance? How can it help lives? These are some things that we are going to talk a little bit about that today.

First of all, so the community rating system credits community efforts beyond those in minimum standards by reducing flood insurance premiums for the community's property owners. The community rating system is similar to the private insurance industry's programs that grade communities on the effectiveness of their fire suppression and building code enforcement efforts. Community rating systems discounts on flood insurance premiums range from 5% up to 45%. Based on the community rating system credit points that are awarded to communities, the discounts provide an incentive for communities to implement new flood protection activities that can help save lives and property when flood occurs.

The community rating system provides credit under 19 public information and flood planning management activities. To get credit, community officials will need to prepare documentation that verifies these efforts. The community rating system assigns credit points for each activity. To be eligible for a community rating system discount, your community must do elevation certificates. If you're a designated repetitive loss community, you must also do flood plain management planning.

Based on the total number of points your community earns, the community rating system assigns you to one of 10 classes. Your discount on flood insurance premiums is based on your class. For example, if your community earns 4500 points or more, it qualifies for class one and the property owners in special flood hazard area get a 45% discount on their insurance premiums. If your community earns as little as 500 points, it's in the class nine and property owners in the special flood hazard area get a 5% discount. If a community does not apply or fails to receive at least 500 points, it's in a class 10 and property owners get no discount, which can have a major impact on flood insurance premiums. Now, what's very important to understand is that this is not a one-time discount program. This program comes up frequently, and normally some of these discounts are done on a yearly basis. So if a community gets a discount one year, the opportunity to lose out the next year can easily happen if certain mitigation efforts are not taken or guidelines are not followed correctly.

Your community can get additional credit for regulating development outside the special flood hazard area to the same standards as development inside the special flood hazard area. There is also credit for assessing future flood conditions, including the impacts of future in development and changing weather patterns. Many communities can qualify for what the community rating system calls state-based credit based on the activities or regulations a state or regional agency implements within the communities. For example, some states have disclosure laws eligible for credit under the hazard disclosure. Any community in those states can receive a state-based credit. Your community may want to consider flood plane management activities. You should evaluate these activities for the ability to increase public safety, reduce property damage, avoid economic disruption and loss, and protect an environment. The main purpose of this program, through FEMA, on the community rating system is to minimize loss of life, minimize loss of property, and minimize environmental impact on flooding.

Now, the participation in this program is completely voluntarily, just like the National Flood Insurance Program. However, with the National Flood Insurance Program, if you do not participate, your community does not get access to disaster assistance, disaster grants,  and many other resources. 

If you've got questions about maybe if you're receiving discounts through the community rating system, you want to make sure you're maximizing these discounts, or you want to take a look to see if the private market offers more discounts compared to the community rating system, please reach out to us. Floodinsuranceguru.com is our website. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and like our Facebook page, where we do daily flood educational videos. You can also give us a call, 205-451-4294. Thank you.

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com