Reduced Flood Risk Equals Lower Costs for Floridians

December 20, 2004

More than 1.8 million flood insurance policyholders in Florida’s 216 participating communities had their premiums reduced by $180 million last year, an average savings of $98, according to new data provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Community Rating System (CRS) rewards communities that take measures to lessen or eliminate flood exposure with lower premiums and significant cost savings for its flood insurance policyholders.

Under the CRS, communities are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, depending on the extra measures taken by the community to provide protection from flooding. The community is assigned points, based on the number and type of activities completed. The better the flood risk management, the lower the rating score, and the lower the insurance premiums. Any NFIP participating community can elect to take part in the program.

“The CRS program can bring considerable benefits to the residents of participating communities,” said Bill Carwile, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. “Not only can they look forward to a greatly reduced risk of flooding in the years ahead, they will also pay less to insure against that threat.”

The menu of flood reduction activities communities may choose to implement include initiating flood warning programs, upgrading drainage system maintenance, developing a citizen outreach strategy, requiring open space preservation, and/or legislating tougher regulatory standards.

In addition to lower flood insurance premiums, CRS participation reportedly brings other benefits to the community such as:

* Enhanced public safety;
* Reduced damage to property and public infrastructure;
* A better-protected environment;
* Technical assistance in developing and implementing the chosen activities;
* The ability to evaluate a community program against a nationally recognized benchmark;
* An incentive to maintain strong flood control ordinances that make favorable ratings possible.

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