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What is CRS?

NFIP logo

The National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) recognizes floodplain management and outreach activities performed by communities that exceed the NFIP minimum standards. CRS, a voluntary program, recognizes these efforts by reducing the cost of flood insurance premiums by 5 to 45 percent for flood insurance policies in communities that participate in the CRS. The CRS recognizes 19 creditable activities organized under four categories:  Public Information, Mapping and Regulations, Flood Damage Reduction, and Warning and Response.  

Communities can choose to undertake any or all of these activities. Based on the number of credit points received for each activity, a community is ranked in one of ten CRS classes with Class 1 requiring the most credit points and giving the largest premium reduction (See Table 1 below).  Most communities regularly implement activities that will earn credit under the CRS. Additionally, in Florida, communities are automatically awarded CRS credit points for various activities do to The Florida Building Code, water quality, local drainage protection regulations, and additional credits based on water management district requirements. 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) is moving forward with the Florida CRS Initiative, designed to assist participating and non-participating communities to better their CRS rating and/or enlist as many eligible non-participating communities. Currently, the CRS is the only means for residents to receive a flood insurance premium reduction.

DEM's CRS-CAV Pilot Program 2015-2017


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Florida CRS Community Classifications

What is the real cost of Disasters?

 Consider the following:

  • Economic Loss – Loss in business sector in fact, some businesses may never return, tax base - revenue loss, roads and transportation access, water and basic supplies;
  • Business Interruption – Resident employees loss of pay as well as business delays opening;
  • Uninsured Loss – Residents without flood insurance may not be able to rebuild will need shelter from their community.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of joining CRS?
  • Is my community a good candidate to join the CRS?
  • What are the prerequisites for a community to apply for the program?
  • How does my community submit an application to join CRS?
  • How does a community maintain CRS standing once it has joined the program?

Benefits of Joining CRS:

Every Florida Community can benefit from joining the CRS. Obviously, residents who live in a CRS community that maintain a flood insurance policy will benefit from the flood insurance premium discount. Let’s look beyond the flood insurance premium discount offered to policyholders.  It has been well documented that CRS Communities experience a 50% reduction in loss (posts disaster) than non-CRS communities. This is most likely due to better comprehensive floodplain management programs are enforced by CRS Communities.  However, keep in mind that there are many additional benefits to joining CRS for communities and residents besides the savings on flood insurance policies, including:

  • Improved public safety through outreach and public alert notification systems.
  • The opportunity for a community to evaluate the effectiveness of its floodplain management program against other state and nationally recognized benchmarks.
  • Savings on flood insurance policies covering publicly owned and leased buildings.
  • More money staying in the community instead of being spent on flood insurance.
  • A reduction in flood damage and increased environmental protection.
  • Residents being reminded the community is working to reduce flood losses and lower insurance costs.
  • More knowledgeable residents and greater support for flood protection measures as the result of outreach activities.
  • Lower insurance costs which may provide incentive to those on the fence about purchasing flood insurance.

Is Your Community a Good candidate to Join CRS?

A community interested in joining the CRS must have been participating in the Regular Phase of the NFIP for at least one year and must be in full compliance with the federal minimum requirements of the NFIP rules and regulations.  Communities which have already implemented higher standards or conducting CRS Activities such as those listed below should be well positioned for joining CRS.  

  • Prepared and adopted the Florida model flood ordinance which addresses flooding issues in the community;
  • Participate in the County Local Mitigation Strategy or create a community flood plan;
  • Preserve land inside the special flood hazard area and/or set aside land for recreational uses such as parks and golf courses;
  • Enforce low density zoning criteria in the floodplain;
  • Enforce the Florida Building Code;
  • Perform outreach activities to inform the public of their flood risk and options to minimize the risk;
  • Have an effective alert notification warning system to avoid loss of life and property damage;
  • Work closely with County Emergency Management agency.

Prerequisites for Joining CRS:

To join CRS, a community will need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • The community must have been in the Regular Phase of the NFIP for at least one year. 
  • The community must schedule a Community Assistance Visit (CAV) with the Florida NFIP Office and/or FEMA Region IV, and the CAV must result in a determination letter that the community is in good standing with NFIP floodplain management requirements. 
  • Earn 500 or more CRS credit points for creditable activities as discussed above.

Repetitive loss properties are those properties for which two or more claims of more than $1,000 have been paid by the NFIP within any 10-year period since 1978.

The community must maintain all flood insurance policies required for community-owned properties.

  • For communities with repetitive loss properties:  the properties must be mapped and a review of the repetitive loss flooding problem performed; an annual outreach project to the properties in the mapped repetitive loss “area” must also be implemented.
  • In order to be a Class 6 or better, a community must have received a classification of 5/5 or better under the Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS).  
  • There are additional prerequisites in order to obtain a CRS Class 4 or better.  Select the CRS web site for additional info: http://crsresources.org/

Credit Points

CRS
Class

SFHA

NON-SFHA

4,500+

1

45%

10%

4,000 - 4,499

2

40%

10%

3,500 - 3,999

3

35%

10%

3,000 - 3,499

4

30%

10%

2,500 - 2,999

5

25%

10%

2,000 - 2,499

6

20%

10%

1,500 - 1,999

7

15%

5%

1,000 – 1,499

8

10%

5%

500 – 999

9

5%

5%

0 – 499

10

0

0

Table 1:  CRS Credit Points and Associated Flood Insurance Premium Reductions

Your community will need to designate a CRS coordinator to manage your community’s involvement in the program.  Therefore it is important to identify a community CRS Coordinator upfront who will have full support of community leadership with the time and resources to oversee the application process and to maintain certification once accepted into the program.


Submitting Your Community’s CRS Application 

Who is ISO?
Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) helps FEMA administer the CRS program.  ISO staff review CRS applications, verify credit points, and perform other support tasks.

 

The Florida Division of Emergency Management offers direct support by communicating with any FL community to verify they meet at least the 500 point minimum to participate. The CRS application will be developed by Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO).  The overall application timeframe will vary based upon the extent and timeliness of follow-up activity documentation required. First, notify the Florida CRS Staff of Interest in CRS: Josh.Overmyer@em.myflorida.com.


The next step in the CRS application process, after documentation of compliance with the NFIP by a closed Community Assistance Visit (CAV), is to notify FEMA Region IV of your community’s interest in joining CRS. A sample email screenshot to Janice Mitchell and Susan Wilson from FEMA Region IV is shown in the links below. As an attachment to the email, please prepare a Letter of Interest (sample LOI), which needs to be signed by the community CEO, and printed on community letterhead. Once the email and Letter of Interest are received by FEMA Region IV, your community will be on track to begin CRS participation.

It is recommended that communities discuss the CRS application process with your State CRS Coordinator Staff to gain insight into their support of your application. If you are unsure of your community CAV status, contact the Florida NFIP Office for information. 

Florida NFIP Office:
Steve Martin, CFM
850-922-5269
Steve.Martin@em.myflorida.com

FEMA Region IV:
CRS Coordinator
Janice Mitchell, CFM
Janice.Mitchell@fema.dhs.gov

Florida CRS Initiative:
Danny Hinson, CFM, FPEM
850-544-8383
Danny.Hinson@em.myflorida.com

Josh Overmyer, CFM
850-519-7955
Josh.Overmyer@em.myflorida.com

Elizabeth M. Todak
850-528-5636
Elizabeth.Todak@em.myflorida.com

Gina Lambert, FPEM
850-528-7520
Gina.Lambert@em.myflorida.com

What Are the Steps Once Your Community has been accepted in CRS?

Elevation Certificates

It is a requirement for all CRS communities to maintain FEMA Elevation Certificates on all new and Substantially Improved structures in the SFHA after the date of the initial CRS application. The required Elevation Certificates must be based upon the “finished construction” of the structure. An important part of this requirement is for the community official to review Elevation Certificates for completeness and correctness. These completed Elevation Certificates must be kept on file and easily accessible.


Florida CRS Coordination

There is staff available to assist with making sure you understand the CRS and the application process prior to development of an application. Florida CRS staff can assist with repetitive loss information as well as a review of prerequisites and various activities.


ISO Verification Visit

ISO conducts their Verification Visit with your community to review the CRS application materials in a face-to-face meeting with the community CRS Coordinator. Some field inspection is included in this process as well as review of documentation submitted for each creditable activity. If there is follow-up necessary to compile any missing application items, your community will be granted 30 days to submit these items to the ISO Specialist. After successful completion of the Verification Visit, the ISO Specialist recommends the CRS class rating for your community. Your community will officially enter the CRS either May 1st or October 1st, whichever is soonest upon approval of your community’s CRS class rating.


CRS Annual Recertification

After joining CRS, a community must remain in full compliance with NFIP minimum requirements in addition to the higher standards credited under CRS. In the event that FEMA becomes aware that a community is no longer fully compliant with these standards, it will be retrograded to a CRS Class 10 (i.e. no longer participating in CRS) and any flood insurance premium discounts previously awarded will no longer apply.

 

Each year your community must recertify by October 1 that it is continuing to perform the floodplain management activities that are being credited by the CRS. Each August, the ISO/CRS Specialist sends the community a list of its credited activities. The community must note whether it is still implementing each item on the list. Some activities have additional documentation that must be submitted with the annual recertification. These are also noted on the list that is sent to the community. Examples are a copy of an annual report or a copy of an outreach project sent out during the previous year.

CRS Cycle Verification

Cycle verifications are conducted every five years after the original application date for Class 6–9 communities. Cycle verifications for Class 1–5 communities are performed on a three-year cycle. During the verification visit, the ISO/CRS Specialist will verify that CRS credited activities continue to be implemented and will request appropriate documentation. 

CRS Classification

sample letter
Sample Letter -(Click image to enlarge)

Letter

CRS Classification

Florida CRS Outreach Materials

The Florida Division of Emergency Management has developed a series of rack cards for use by local officials in providing outreach materials to the residents and property owners of their floodplains. The links below are print-ready versions that can be used by the print shop of your choosing. The rack cards cover 5 of the 6 priority topics found in Activity 330 of the CRS Coordinator’s Manual. If the rack cards are displayed at 5 locations within your community, the 5 topics times 5 locations will yield 25 points for Outreach activities for your community’s CRS program.

CRS_build_RC_BACK
CRS_build_RC_FRONT
CRS_NFIP info_RC_BACK
CRS_NFIP info_RC_FRONT
Flood Safety_RC_BACK
Flood Safety_RC_FRONT

Additional Resources

CRS Elevation Certificate Checklist
April 2016 Program Changes Affecting Flood Insurance Premiums
Community Rating System
FloodSmart
FEMA Map Center
Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014
Florida Floodplain Managers Association (FFMA)
Association of State Floodplain Managers Association (ASFPM)
Flood Safety and Preparedness

 

This content has been adapted for the State of Florida from a CRS toolkit developed by Dewberry with permission.

 

Updated:
July 15, 2016 9:05

 
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