Community Rating System (CRS)
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), overseen by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides federally backed flood insurance within communities that enact and enforce floodplain regulations. Since its inception in 1968, the NFIP has been very successful in helping flood victims get back on their feet. As of April 2022, the NFIP is the primary source of flood insurance coverage for residential properties in the United States, with more than 5 million policies in 22,500 communities in 56 states and jurisdictions. The program collects about $4.6 billion in annual revenue from policyholders' premiums, fees and surcharges and provides over $1.3 trillion in coverage.
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the NFIP.
In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community's efforts that address the three goals of the program:
- Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property
- Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program
- Foster comprehensive floodplain management
- Promote greater public awareness and understanding of the flood threat in Palm Beach County.
- Offer practical guidance on preparing for, mitigating against, and recovering from flood events.
- Provide information on important federal, state, and local loss reduction programs, services, and initiatives.
- Answer commonly asked questions regarding flood insurance, flood zones, warning systems, evacuation, and other flood related topics.
- List key contacts and links where flood information and assistance can be found.
- CRS floodplain management activities provide enhanced public safety, reduced damage to property and public infrastructure, and avoidance of economic disruption and loss.
- Citizens and property owners in CRS communities have increased opportunities to learn about risk, evaluate their individual vulnerabilities, and take action to protect themselves, as well as their homes and businesses.
- Technical assistance in designing and implementing some activities is available to community officials at no charge.
- CRS communities have incentives to maintain and improve their flood programs over time.
- Communities can evaluate the effectiveness of their flood programs against a nationally recognized benchmark.
CRS discounts on flood insurance premiums range from 5% up to 45%, based on CRS credit points that are awarded to communities. The discounts provide incentive for communities to implement new flood protection activities that can help save lives and property when a flood occurs.
The benefits of CRS participation to communities go well beyond the award of flood insurance premium discounts to policyholders in return for the implementation of specific floodplain management activities and can be the catalyst to the integration of a wide range of disaster resistance programs, improved knowledge of flood risk, and skills development.
CRS Activities in Four Groups
Palm Beach County and its CRS stakeholders meet throughout the year to review, document, and discuss the ability to increase the number of points for creditable activities that may increase the overall CRS score. These activities are reviewed and documented during an annual recertification visit and a cycle verification visit. The annual visit recertifies that Palm Beach County is continuing to implement the activities for which it has earned credit. The verification visit is conducted every three years, and involves a detailed review of all credited activities Palm Beach County has engaged in. Points are awarded for engaging in any of the 19 creditable activities under the following four (4) categories:
- Public Information (Series 300): Programs that advise residents and business owners about the flood hazard, flood insurance, and ways to reduce flood damage. These activities also provide data needed by insurance agents for accurate flood insurance rating. They usually serve all members of the community and work toward all three (3) goals of the CRS Program.
- Mapping and Regulations (Series 400): This series credits programs that provide increased protection to new development. These activities include mapping areas not shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), preserving open space, enforcing higher regulatory standards, and managing storm water. The credit is increased for growing communities. Mapping and Regulations Series work toward the first and second goals of the CRS, damage reduction and accurate insurance rating.
- Flood Damage Reduction (Series 500): Identify programs for areas in which existing development is at risk. Credit is provided for a comprehensive floodplain management plan, relocating or retrofitting flood-prone structures, and maintaining drainage systems. These activities work toward the first goal of the CRS, damage reduction.
- Flood Preparedness (Series 600): Flood warning, levee safety, and dam safety programs. These activities work toward the first and third goals of the CRS, damage reduction and hazard awareness.
Points are awarded according to the three (3) primary goals of CRS. More specifically, points may be awarded for the four major categories, or series. Within each series there are several general activities which each community may undertake. When it comes to explicit activities the community must undertake for CRS points, those are listed as “Elements" of each activity. There are a maximum number of points for each element and activity. Due to the way points are calculated, it is common for a community to qualify for only a portion of the total possible points.
Does Your Community Participate in CRS?
Currently, 29 of the 39 Palm Beach County municipalities or “communities" participate in the CRS. The chart below lists participating communities, their current class rating, and the percentage NFIP premium discounts residents living in the Special Flood Hazard Area receive as of October 2022.
Number||Community Name||CRS Entry Date||Current
Effective Date||CRS Class Rating||% Discount for
|120195||Boca Raton, City
|120196||Boynton Beach, City
|120198||Cloud Lake, Town
|125102||Delray Beach, City
|120200||Glen Ridge, Town
|125109||Gulf Stream, Town
|125111||Highland Beach, Town
|120208||Juno Beach, Town
|125119||Jupiter, Town of ||10/1/1994||5/1/2015||5||25|
|120211||Lake Clarke Shores,
Town of ||10/1/1994||10/1/2009||8||10|
|120212||Lake Park, Town
|120213||Lake Worth, City
|120214||Lantana, Town of ||10/1/1994||10/1/2020||8||10|
|120216||Mangonia Park, Town
|120217||North Palm Beach,
Village of ||10/1/1994||10/1/2020||5||25|
|125134||Ocean Ridge, Town
|120220||Palm Beach, Town
|120221||Palm Beach Gardens,
City of ||10/1/2003||5/1/2014||10||0|
|125137||Palm Beach Shores,
Town of ||10/1/1994||5/1/2019||7||15|
|120223||Palm Springs, Village
|125142||Riviera Beach, City
|120225||Royal Palm Beach,
|120227||South Palm Beach,
Town of ||10/1/1993||10/1/2020||8||10|
|120229||West Palm Beach, City