Community Rating System (CRS)

What is the Community Rating System (CRS)? 
The CRS is a voluntary incentive-based program that recognizes and encourages community-based floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum standards of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  

In Augusta, it involves a series of activities that the City carries out each year, such as local hazard mitigation, strong floodplain management and public outreach activities, that not only exceed the minimum standards of the NFIP, but that also promote flood protection and involve preventative measures to avoid flooding and reduce the negative impacts of flooding in our community. By taking all of these measures, citizens in Augusta who have Federally-backed flood insurance through the NFIP, receive a discount on their flood insurance policy premiums. 

Goals of the CRS include:

  • Reducing flood damage to insurable property
  • Strengthening and supporting the insurance aspects of the NIFP
  • Encouraging a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.
As a result from community actions meeting these CRS goals, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk.

Participating CRS communities are divided put into 10 classes based upon the number of credit points earned.  Credit points are earned through different activities that fall into four series:
  1. Public Information
  2. Mapping & Regulations
  3. Flood Damage Reduction
  4. Flood Preparedness
Augusta is currently in Class 10 and homeowners who are in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) (in layman’s terms, the “100 year floodplain”, or what others refer to as the “1% annual chance floodplain”) are eligible for a 0% discount on their flood insurance premium.

Benefits of the CRS 

Lower cost flood insurance rates are only one of the rewards a community receives from participating in the CRS. Other benefits include: 
  • Citizens and property owners in CRS communities have increased opportunities to learn about risk, evaluate their individual vulnerabilities, and take action to protect themselves, as well as their homes and businesses. 
  • CRS floodplain management activities provide enhanced public safety, reduced damage to property and public infrastructure, and avoidance of economic disruption and loss.
  • Communities can evaluate the effectiveness of their flood programs against a nationally recognized benchmark.
  • Technical assistance in designing and implementing some activities is available to community officials at no charge. 
  • CRS communities have incentives to maintain and improve their flood programs over time.

What does CRS mean for you?

As part of our Hazard Mitigation Plan Update process undertaken this past year, Augusta informed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Office of its interest in applying to the CRS program and we are in the process of submitting a CRS application, along with documentation that shows that the community is implementing the activities for which CRS credit is being requested. 

The application will be submitted to the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO)/CRS Specialist. ISO works on behalf of FEMA and insurance companies to review CRS applications, verify communities’ CRS credit points, and perform program improvement tasks. 

Our community’s activities and performance will be reviewed during a verification visit coming up in early 2018.  FEMA will establish the credit to be granted for our ongoing floodplain management and outreach activities and will notify us, as the community, the State, insurance companies, and other appropriate parties of our CRS Class and what insurance discounts are to be given to our flood insurance policy holders. 

Going forward, each year, Augusta must verify that it is continuing to perform the activities that we are being credited for by the CRS, by submitting an annual recertification. In addition, our community can continue to improve its Class rating by undertaking new mitigation and floodplain management activities that earn even more points!  

As we decrease in our Class designation, our citizens will enjoy an additional 5% savings in their flood insurance premiums for properties in the SFHA, for each lower Class we receive.  Homeowners who are not in the SFHA and want to purchase flood insurance are eligible for a 10% discount on their flood insurance premium.

Points may be awarded for activities such as citizen education programs, preserving open space in the floodplain, requiring higher-than-normal construction standards and enforcing stormwater regulations.  Lower ratings have higher NFIP policy discounts capping at a 45% discount in flood insurance premiums for Class 1 communities.

Flooding in Augusta, Georgia, is largely associated with stormwater runoff exceeding creek and storm drainage capacities, both in the urban area and in the surburban areas of our community. Areas adjacent to our community’s many creeks and streams are subject to both flash flooding and riverine flooding (rising water). 

For the past two decades, Augusta has been dedicated to the “flood-fight” and in achieving No Adverse Impact (NAI) in their floodplain related development.  The City’s commitment to responsible floodplain management is only part of the reason of the reason we have decided to pursue CRS designation.  The main reason is YOU – CRS will provide you with a reduction in your flood insurance premium, increased opportunities for you to learn about your flood risk, reduction in damage to property and public infrastructure by increasing attention to sound floodplain management in our community, reduction in economic disruption and losses and reduction in human suffering caused by the negative consequences of flooding when floods do happen to us, and continuing to protect the natural resource that is our area’s floodplains and wetlands.

For more information in our community about CRS, contact our community’s CRS Coordinator at 706-821-1155.