Community Rating System for St Lucie County

Project: 2019 St. Lucie County Community Rating System Plan Assessment 

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Federal Insurance Mitigation Administration was implemented in 1990 as a voluntary program in which communities could participate to initiate flood insurance premium reductions for community residents. Local governments, counties, and municipalities in full compliance with the minimum NFIP floodplain management requirements may apply to join the CRS. The NFIP program is designed to recognize and encourage community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum program standards promoting mitigation and lessoning the impacts and/or damage from future flood impacts to the environment and property with the intention disaster events, building resiliency from disaster impacts. Community planning and actions to reduce insurance premiums must meet the three goals of the CRS:

  • reduce flood damage to insurable property;
  • strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP; and
  • encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

As a community engages in additional flood mitigation activities, residents become eligible for increased NFIP policy premium discounts. Communities participate by implementing local mitigation, floodplain management, and outreach activities focused on the Special Flood Hazard Areas that reside within the County 100-year floodplain.

2017 Community Rating System Guidance Manual outlines the accumulation credits and points within four categories: Public Information, Mapping and Regulations, Flood Damage Reduction, and Warning and Response, with additional points awarded for engagement in 19 related but separate activities. Communities accrue points to improve its CRS Class rating and receive increasingly higher discounts. Class ratings begin at the lowest discount of 5 percent (rating of “9”) and may progress to a 45 percent discount (rating of “1”).  The NFIP requires that participating communities verify that they are continuing to perform the activities being credited by the CRS by submitting an annual recertification. The ISO conducts planned audits every five years to provide a comprehensive review of the current Plan for local governments seeking to improve current ratings thereby the potential increase of flood insurance discount. The review is an opportunity to define potential improvements in information, data, and outreach activities to earn lower ratings.

In 2018, St. Lucie County Department of Public Safety, Division of Emergency Management requested and entered into a services agreement with the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council (TCRPC) utilizing Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) funds administered through the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to assist the County in preparation for their CRS ISO verification audit.  The TCRPC reviewed and assessed the ability of the County to meet the requirements of the NFIP CRS program to maintain the current Class 6 Rating and determined for the potential of attaining an elevated Class 5 Rating utilizing 2017 CRS guidance.  TCRPC staff reviewed previous County ISO recertification submissions, external and internal departmental plans, and operating procedures to identify areas where departments satisfy the elements and areas where enhancement can be made for additional credit/points to meet standards to increase participation and Plan data to lower the current rating.  

In 2019, TCRPC staff prepared recommendations using available compiled documentation and current CRS activities completed and/or in which departments are currently engaged for maintain the current rating of 6 and the potential for achieving the rating of 5 allowing citizens that are required to hold flood insurance to increase the discount from 20 percent to 25 percent. The St. Lucie County CRS Plan full review, assessment, and recommendations are available upon request.