Western Pa. Township Among Communities to Receive Premium Reductions for Flood Insurance

December 14, 2004

A Western Pennsylvania township has been selected to receive a special rating that will enable residents in that township to receive a 10 percent discount on flood insurance premiums, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced.

Shaler Twp. in Allegheny County is one of 33 communities in 19 states that will reportedly pay less for flood insurance, thanks to special efforts by local officials to reduce future flood losses, according to the NFIP officials. This year each of the 33 communities undertook measures to educate residents about flooding, change zoning rules and/or building regulations, and other mitigation steps.

“I’ve been involved with this for awhile,” said Deborah Vita, Shaler Township assistant manager. “We have done a lot more in the way of public education and have flood-related information on our website now. We have up to date flood map information and maintain flood plain certificates,” she added.

Vita said the township also has a better tracking system with flood-plain related correspondence. “Now when people build they have to build to floodplain regulations,” she said, adding that the township has become a “resource” for and flood-related information.

The premium reduction of 10 percent for new and existing policyholders is the result of actions taken by officials in Shaler Twp. under the Community Rating System (CRS) of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Michael Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, praised all of the communities being recognized with new ratings.

“They have earned the CRS’ award of lower flood insurance premiums as well as peace of mind,” Brown said. “Thanks to the efforts of these local officials, property owners should experience less flood damage in the future. Just as we encourage people to become more disaster-resistant by buying flood insurance, these communities have accepted that responsibility as well and are affording their residents the benefit of paying less for their flood insurance coverage.”

The rating system rewards communities that voluntarily take steps beyond the minimum requirements of the NFIP to reduce flood risks and increase the effectiveness of flood insurance protection. Such activities can fall under one or more of the following categories: flood preparedness; flood damage reduction; mapping and regulations; and public awareness.

Premium discounts resulting from these CRS activities range in five percent increments from Class 9 (five percent) to Class 1 (45 percent). For example, a community rated as a Class 9 will have premiums reduced five percent, a Class 8 community will receive a ten percent reduction, and so on.

Under the NFIP, federally backed flood insurance is made available to homeowners, renters and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce local ordinances that reduce future flood losses by regulating new construction. Currently, nearly 4.4 million flood insurance policies are in force in more than 20,000 participating communities nationwide, representing more than $702 billion worth of coverage.

Nearly 3 million policyholders in 1,006 communities now benefit from the Community Rating System.

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