The Community Rating System (CRS) program is a fundamental aspect of the National Flood Insurance Program with over 1,500 communities participating. For those that are not familiar, the CRS program is a “voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices.” Community governments (like cities or counties) participate in the CRS program. In exchange for engaging in mitigation and adaptation activities, communities receive discounts on flood insurance premiums that benefit residents and property owners.
While the program can be a huge boon in communities with high flood risk where property owners might have difficulty affording flood insurance premiums, participation can be a heavy lift due to documentation and ongoing recertification requirements. This can create access gaps, where under-resourced communities with less capital might find it harder to get discounts for residents whereas wealthier communities might find it easier. For communities that are involved in the program, recertification means thoroughly document the work that they’ve done to strengthen community engagement in flood mitigation practices and reduce flood damage to insurable properties.
In our work at Forerunner, we’ve had a chance to dig deep into the CRS workflows of our users. We’ve seen that the challenge of staying on top of documentation and working through the instructions outlined in the CRS Manual can prevent communities from participating or increasing their premium discount. One of the biggest hurdles to participation is knowing what to pull together for yearly reviews. To help out on this front, we’ve compiled a list of actions that need to be taken in order to correctly document work for the CRS here. The spreadsheet can help with task tracking and also assist communities in decision-making around taking on additional activities. Note that the list has been updated to account for the 2021 CRS Addendum but might not be completely comprehensive. It is not a replacement for the CRS manual, which can be found at crsresources.org.
If you’re new to the CRS or looking for additional guidance, here are a few more resources that we can offer:
Forerunner’s CRS Guide (also not a replacement for the CRS manual!)
Webinar: CRS Class 5 with Jefferson Parish, LA
CRS Addeundum 2021: A Summary of Changes & Additions
Resources for Developing Your CRS Program
Should My Community Participate in FEMA’s Community Rating System (CRS)?