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Overview of the Community Rating System (CRS) Program

The National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

Under the CRS, there is an incentive for communities to do more than just regulate construction of new buildings to minimum national standards. Communities earn credit by engaging in 18 activities organized under four categories: Public Information, Mapping and Regulations, Flood Damage Reduction, and Flood Preparedness. CRS class designation is determined by how many credits a community earns through these activities. CRS classes range from a Class 9 (requiring 500-999 CRS credits) to a Class 1 (requiring 4,500 or more CRS credits).

Under the CRS, flood insurance premiums are adjusted to reflect community activities that reduce flood damage to existing buildings, manage development in areas not mapped by the NFIP, protect new buildings beyond the minimum NFIP protection level, help insurance agents obtain flood data, and help people obtain flood insurance.

For CRS participating communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted in increments of 5%; i.e., a Class 1 community would receive a 45% premium discount, while a Class 9 community would receive a 5%. The CRS classes for local communities are based on 18 creditable activities, organized under four categories: (i) Public Information, (ii) Mapping and Regulations, (iii) Flood Damage Reduction, and (iv) Flood Preparedness.

The CRS Today Of the 20,000 communities in the NFIP today, 1,095 participate in the CRS. Those communities include 66% of all the flood insurance policies in force in the nation. Altogether, these policyholders are saving $220 million annually compared to what they would pay for flood insurance in non-CRS communities. All residents of CRS communities—whether they have flood insurance or not and even if they do not live in floodprone areas—benefit from the CRS-credited actions because actions improve public safety, reduce property losses and human suffering, enhance open space, minimize economic disruption, and protect the environment.

As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions meeting the three goals of the CRS:

  1. Reduce flood losses;
  2. Facilitate accurate insurance rating; and
  3. Promote the awareness of flood insurance.

Nationwide there are 1095 communities receiving flood insurance premium discounts based on their implementation of local mitigation, outreach, and educational activities that go well beyond minimum NFIP requirements. While premium discounts are one of the benefits of participation in CRS, it is more important that these communities are carrying out activities that save lives and reduce property damage. These 1002 communities represent a significant portion of the Nation's flood risk as evidenced by the fact that over 66% of the NFIP's policy base is located in these communities. Communities receiving premium discounts through the CRS cover a full range of sizes from small to large, and a broad mixture of flood risks including coastal and riverine.

Credit points earned, classification awarded, and premium reductions given for communities in the National Flood
Insurance Program Community Rating System.


Premium Reduction
Credit Points Class Rating SFHA* Non-SFHA**
4,500+ 1 45% 5%
4,000 – 4,499 2 40% 5%
3,500 – 3,999 3 35% 5%
3,000 – 3,499 4 30% 5%
2,500 – 2,999 5 25% 5%
2,000 – 2,499 6 20% 5%
1,500 – 1,999 7 15% 5%
1,000 – 1,499 8 10% 5%
500 – 999 9 5% 5%
0 – 499 10 0 0

* Special Flood Hazard Area
** Preferred Risk Policies are available only for properties in X Zones that are shown to have a minimal risk of flood damage. The Preferred Risk Policy does not receive premium rate credits under the CRS because it already has a lower premium than other policies. Although they are in SFHAs, Zones AR and A99 are limited to a 5% discount.

Louisville Metro CRS Rating: The Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is the CRS program coordinator for Louisville Metro and is responsible for completion of all CRS activities. Currently, Louisville Metro has a Class 5 Rating and receives a 25% discount on flood insurance premium rates. A Class 5 is the highest-class rating in the State of Kentucky, and this means that over 6,600 policyholders in Louisville Metro will benefit from a reduction in annual flood insurance premiums.

CRS Activities: The CRS Program describes eighteen floodplain management activities that can be credited by the CRS. Each of the eighteen activities further involves two or more elements. The CRS activities are divided into four categories or series, as follows.

  1. Public Information: This series credits a program that advises people about the flood hazard, flood insurance, ways to reduce flood damage, and promote hazard awareness.
    • MSD sends an annual mailing to FEMA-designated floodplain properties in an effort to inform property owners of the flood hazard. The cover letter clearly states that the recipient’s property is subject to flooding and is located in the floodplain. The mailing also includes information on flood safety, flood warning and preparedness, flood insurance requirements, property protection measures and other useful information.
    • MSD also sends an annual outreach geared specifically to realtors, lenders, and insurers. The mailing is sent to over 900 local lenders, insurers, and realtors to inform them of the local flood hazard, flood insurance requirements and that MSD provides free technical and floodproofing assistance.
    • MSD provides technical assistance to residents for map information and flood protection assistance. These services are provided as a public service to the inquirer. The CRS encourages the community to publicize the availability of these flood hazard awareness services.
    • MSD also publishes a brochure entitled, "Louisville and Jefferson County’s Local Flood Hazard" that explains how to determine if a property is in the floodplain and how to receive property protection assistance and other valuable information.
  2. Mapping and Floodplain Regulations: Activities in this category are geared toward floodplain programs that provide increased protection to new development through regulations, mapping, stormwater management and designating open space. These activities include mapping areas not shown on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM), preserving open space and enforcing higher regulatory standards. MSD has become a national model for floodplain regulations in this category due to the fully developed watershed concept and the revised Floodplain Ordinance.
  3. Flood Damage Reduction: This CRS category credits programs that reduce potential damages in areas that are flood prone. While most of the points in the CRS are given for acquisition and relocation of flood prone properties, mitigation practices, such as floodproofing or retrofitting a flood prone building, are equally beneficial to reducing flood damages to the community. Extra  credit also is provided for addressing repetitive loss problems and individual properties. Credit also is awarded in this category for regularly maintaining the community’s drainage systems, enforcing stream dumping regulations, and inspecting waterways after a storm.
  4. Flood Preparedness: This CRS category credits the community for the local flood-warning program and the flood response plan. Informing residents of emergency and safety measures is also credited.

 Return to CRS main page

Last Updated: February 28, 2012

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