Community Rating System (CRS)
What Is the Community Rating System?
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program for the 30 of the 38 Palm Beach County communities participating communities the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to lower flood insurance premiums by “going above and beyond” the minimum requirements for the NFIP eligibility. It is a “win-win” program because it reduces a community’s vulnerability to floods while reducing the cost of flood insurance premiums for all policy holders in the jurisdiction. The CRS Program is administered by Insurance Services Office, Inc.
Under the CRS Program, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reward community actions that meet the following three (3) goals of the CRS:
- To reduce flood damages to insurable property strengthen
- Support the insurance aspects of the NFIP
- Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.
The CRS has been developed to provide incentives in the form of premium discounts for communities to go beyond the minimum floodplain management requirements to develop extra measures to provide protection from flooding.
Palm Beach County joined the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) in 1991. The CRS is the County’s primary floodplain management program. It is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum NFIP requirements.
Resident flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from community actions that: (1) reduce flood losses; (2) facilitate accurate insurance rating; and (3) promote the awareness of flood insurance. Palm Beach County has recently qualified for a Class 5 rating, placing it in the top 10% of programs nation-wide. By virtue of its ratings increase, the residents of Unincorporated Palm Beach County will see a 25% annual savings in insurance premiums.
CRS Activities in Four Groups
Palm Beach County community increases points to improve its CRS class rating and to receive increasingly higher discounts. 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 accrued according the three (3) primary goals of the 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.
Reduction in NFIP
Every Palm Beach County community in the NFIP were automatically enrolled in the community Rating System Program with a rating of 10. There are established numbers of points for activities which are determined to reduce flood damages and increase education. For every 500 points earned, the CRS number for that jurisdiction drops by one (1). For each one-point drop in the CRS number the cost of the flood insurance premium for each property outside the floodplain but still maintain a flood insurance premium, the CRS reduction is more modest since their risk is already lower. County officials who wish to reduce the cost of flood insurance premiums for their community’s NFIP policy holders can do so through the CRS, potentially up to 45% with a “one” (1) ranking. The potential for savings is greatest in communities which have a large number of NFIP premiums and have a comprehensive floodplain management program.
Benefits of the CRS
Lower cost flood insurance rates are not the only benefit rewarded to a community participating in the CRS Program. Other benefits include:
- 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 intent is to:
- 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.
Does Your Community Participate in CRS?
At this writing, 30 of the 38 municipalities and unincorporated Palm Beach County 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 June 2014.
|Municipality||CRS Entry Date||Current Effective Date||CRS Class Rating||% Discount|
|Lake Clarke Shores||10/1/1994||10/1/2009||8||10|
|Lake Worth Beach||10/1/1996||5/1/2019||7||15|
|North Palm Beach||10/1/1994||5/1/2009||7||15|
|Palm Beach Shores||10/1/1994||5/1/2019||7||15|
|Palm Beach County||10/1/1991||10/1/2011||5||25|
|Royal Palm Beach||10/1/2018||10/1/2018||6||20|
|South Palm Beach||10/1/1993||5/1/2015||9||5|
|West Palm Beach||10/1/1992||10/1/2018||5||25|
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