Flooding risks across the nation are becoming more severe with increasing frequency and intensity. In this changing world, we know how important it is to have these changes reflected in the way that our programs function.
That is why FEMA is seeking public feedback to help improve the Community Rating System. In August, FEMA published a Request for Information in the Federal Register with questions about the current program, the future conditions and risks, how we can incentivize communities to be more resilient and how they can collaborate and integrate with other entities or programs. The questions also address barriers and equity issues that create challenges for communities.
The Community Rating System is a voluntary program within the National Flood Insurance Program that results in lower flood insurance premiums in communities that are making efforts to have better floodplain management. Any community that is in good standing with the National Flood Insurance Program can participate in the Community Rating System.
Once part of this system, a community can do different floodplain management activities that help them earn credits or points.
As a community engages in these mitigation activities and earns these credits, its residents become eligible for increased flood insurance premium discounts. There are 19 different activities that can earn credits for a community. These activities fall under four categories:
- Public Information An example of a mitigation activity in this category: maintaining a library or website that contains flood-related information.
- Mapping and Regulations An example of a mitigation activity in this category: not developing on flood prone land.
- Flood Damage Reduction An example of a mitigation activity in this category: protecting buildings from flood damage by floodproofing, elevation or minor structural projects.
- Warning and Response An example of a mitigation activity in this category: timely warning of flood threats and coordinating flood response activities.
Today, there are just over 1,500 communities that participate in the Community Rating System and take advantage of these lower premiums. The participating communities represent 73% ― about 3.5 million policyholders ― of the current National Flood Insurance Program.
In the past, FEMA has heard from stakeholders about how highly-valued the program is and that there are opportunities for continuous improvement. One reason FEMA is seeking input from the public now is to ensure the program continues to meet the needs of all stakeholders, including those in underserved communities.
This initiative to review and improve the Community Rating System is called “CRS Next.” The purpose of the initiative is to better incentivize communities and policyholders to become more resilient and lower their vulnerability to flood risk.
As FEMA continues to review the Community Rating System, we are asking the public to submit input and ideas in response to the Request for Information.
You can share your insights and perspectives in response to a series of questions on the Community Rating System‘s strengths, challenges, equity, risk reduction, resilience, technology and more. You can submit written comments by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal, using Docket ID: FEMA-2021-0021 up until Oct. 22, 2021.