Residents of Laurel now have lower flood insurance premiums because of the community’s initiatives to implement better floodplain management measures encouraged by the National Flood Insurance Program.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency created the voluntary Community Rating System program to recognize local efforts to reduce flood risk and to reward communities, their residents and businesses by saving them money on flood insurance premiums. The city recently entered the program as a Class 7 participant.
Under CRS, local officials are asked to meet three goals: reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance rating and promote the awareness of flood insurance. Communities who apply to participate in CRS are required to provide information demonstrating their floodplain management program exceeds the minimum requirements of the NFIP.
The program includes 10 class rating levels based on the number and type of activities initiated by participating communities. For each class advancement, NFIP policy holders receive an additional five percent reduction in their flood insurance premiums up to a 45% reduction for a Class 1 community. Each NFIP policy written in the City of Laurel will have an approximate 15 percent CRS discount.
Some actions taken by the city include outreach efforts to educate citizens about flooding hazards through high water mark signs along the Patuxent River. It also distributed quarterly diner placemat advertisements, broadcasted programs on Laurel TV and disseminated FEMA/NFIP brochures at public buildings. The City also maintained procedures for managing flood-related construction certificates and developed and disseminated a flood-related brochure to real estate companies within the community to provide their clients valuable information about local flood issues.
For more information, visit www.FEMA.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-rating-system; with inquiries about flood insurance, property owners should contact their insurance agent, visit www.FEMA.gov/national-flood-insurance-program, or call the NFIP at 800-427-4661.