CRS Program

Community Rating System (CRS) Overview

 

What is CRS?

National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System

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. 

Over 1,500 communities participate nationwide.  In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community’s efforts that address the three goals of the program:

  • Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property
  • Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program
  • Foster comprehensive floodplain management

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 damage to insurable property;
  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and
  3. Encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

The objective of the CRS is to recognize and reward communities that are doing more than meeting the minimum NFIP requirements to help their citizens prevent or reduce flood losses. The CRS also provides an incentive for communities to initiate new flood protection activities.

 The CRS determines discounts based on credit points provided for floodplain management activities.  To achieve certain CRS class ratings, communities must meet certain program prerequisites in addition to the credit points.

Link to the CRS Resources page.

 


FEMA Elevation Certificate 

Any Elevation Certificate submitted for review dated November 1, 2023 or after must be on the new Elevation Certificate (FF-206-FY22-152).

The new Dry Floodproofing Certificate for Non-Residential Structures was released on July 7th and must be used as of November 1, 2023 as well. Copies of these forms can be accessed via FEMA’s Underwriting Forms webpage. To access the forms, please copy the link to a folder on your computer and open it from there. You must have Adobe software to open it.

If you have any questions about the use of these forms, please contact your CRS Resource Specialist or your ISO/CRS Specialist.

Download forms at the links below:

EC Correction Form

CRS EC Checklist

CRS Required Fields

Form 152

Form 153


CRS Elevation Certificates Checklist

 

Learn more about The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS)

Link to The Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule (BCEGS)

 


Introducing CRS Materials


CRS Local Official Brochure

Community Rating System: The Local Official’s Guide to Saving Lives, Preventing Property Damage and Reducing the Cost of Flood Insurance introduces the Community Rating System as a way of promoting the awareness of flood insurance.

NFIP Community Rating System (CRS):  A Local Official’s Guide to Saving Lives, Preventing Property Damage, and Reducing the Cost of Flood Insurance (2015)

 


CRS Introduction Presentation

Watch the Community Rating System (CRS) Overview, Prerecorded Presentation, a 9-minute narrated PowerPoint presentation is about the CRS.  It is an introduction to the CRS suitable for viewers with little or no familiarity with the CRS.

 


CRS Fact Sheet

For a quick overview of the CRS program, link to the CRS Fact Sheet.

 


How are Flood Insurance Premium Discounts for CRS Communities Calculated?

Flood insurance premium rates in Community Rating System communities are discounted in increments of 5%.  A Class 10 community is not participating in the CRS and receives no discount.  A Class 9 community receives a 5% discount for all policies in its Special Flood Hazard Areas, a Class 8 community receives a 10% discount, all the way to a Class 1 community, which receives a 45% premium discount. 

Classifications are based on 19 creditable activities, organized in four categories:

  • Public Information
  • Mapping and Regulations
  • Flood Damage Reduction
  • Warning and Response

 


How to Apply: Application Letter of Interest & CRS Quick Check

To begin the application process for a CRS classification, communities must submit a letter of interest to their FEMA Regional Office and document that they are implementing floodplain management activities that warrant at least 500 CRS credit points.

The application is 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’ credit points, and perform program improvement tasks.

The CRS Application Letter of Interest and CRS Quick Check document provide communities with a sample letter of interest.  In addition, a community can use the “CRS Quick Check” tool for documenting their current activities and calculating their possible CRS credit points.  Instructions are provided within the document.

Small Communities in the CRSA six-page fact sheet to help small communities gauge, step-by-step, their ability to participate in the CRS, along with explanation of program benefits. (Download .pdf)

This packet includes a letter of interest and a “quick check” form, both of which are used by a community to apply to the CRS and request its initial CRS classification.

 


2017 Edition of CRS Coordinator’s Manual

The Coordinator’s Manual is the guidebook for the CRS.  The Coordinator’s Manual explains how the program operates, how credits are calculated, what documentation is required, and how class ratings are determined.  It also acts as guidance for communities in enhancing their flood loss reduction and resource protection activities.

The current Coordinator’s Manual is the 2017 Edition.

– Section 100 gives general background information on the CRS.
– Section 200 explains the application and verification procedures.
– Sections 300 through 700 explain the credit points and calculations that are used to verify CRS credit.

Link to Download the 2017 Coordinator’s Manual

 

2021 Addendum to the CRS Coordinator’s Manual, 2017 Edition


In January 2021, an addendum to the CRS Coordinator’s Manual became effective. The 2021 Addendum and the 2017 Coordinator’s Manual together constitute the official statement of CRS credits and procedures. These two documents will remain effective until a fully revised edition of the Coordinator’s Manual is issued in the future.

Download the 2021 Addendum to the Coordinator’s Manual, 2017 Edition on FEMA.gov (.pdf).

 


 CRS Community Certifications

These certification forms are part of the documentation needed to obtain credit for certain activities under the CRS.

CRS communities use these forms to certify compliance with pertinent environmental and historic preservation requirements, needed to obtain CRS credit for certain activities.

 


Helpful Resources

The following guides, checklists, and other materials, most of them referred to in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual, are optional aids to help communities with their CRS programs.

  • 2021 Class 8 Freeboard Prerequisite: Frequently Asked Questions (Download .pdfUPDATED!
  • Master List of Elements – 2017 Coordinator’s Manual (Download .pdf)
  • CRS Credits Crosswalk – 2007 to 2017 Coordinator’s Manual (Download .pdf)
  • Summary of Changes in 2017 Coordinator’s Manual (Download .pdf)
  • Impact Adjustment MapsAn overview and step-by-step guide to producing a map to help analyze and pinpoint the impact of floodplain management techniques. (Download .pdf)
  • CRS Credit for Habitat ProtectionAn overview and guide to the ways communities can protect natural habitat while earning CRS credit. (Download .pdf)
  • Considerations for Community CRS Coordinators after a Major FloodHelps community CRS coordinators as they assess their workload after a disaster. (Download .pdf)
  • CRS Credit for a High Water Mark InitiativeDescribes how signs showing the high point of past flood waters helps raise public awareness and earn CRS credit. (Download .pdf)

 

Making Corrections to the Repetitive Loss List

Making Corrections to the Repetitive Loss List is a one-page CRS handout that describes the new procedure communities submit to FEMA corrections to the repetitive loss list, using the Repetitive Loss Update Worksheet, also known as the AW-501.

CRS communities use this form to submit corrections and updates to the list of repetitive flood loss properties within their jurisdictions.

 


Annual Recertification Dates for CRS Communities

July 2017

Kentucky’s CRS Annual Recertification schedule is May 1.  Recertification packages will go to communities approximately 45 days before the due date.

Centralized EC Review Process

The CRS Resource Specialists will also be processing the ECs collected at cycle verification visits starting January 1, 2018.  ISO has also developed a work and communication flow for the cycle visit EC review process as they work with communities to meet the required verification threshold of 90% correct. 

Note that at annual recertification, the centralized review of ECs is a courtesy review to identify problems with the ECs.  Results of the review will be sent to the community, with a copy to the ISO/CRS Specialists.  This process allows the community time to have the ECs corrected by the next verification cycle visit.  The 90% threshold must be met only at the cycle verification visit.

 


CRS and the Post-Disaster Setting … Major Flooding Brings Change to CRS Communities 

October 2017

Any community CRS Coordinator that has experienced a major flood knows first-hand about the all-consuming reorientation of community priorities as the community responds to the immediate needs of its residents, helps in recovery, and undertakes mitigation opportunities.  The CRS program recognizes the demands upon the CRS Coordinator during these times, and has prepared this fact sheet to highlight common CRS themes that arise during the recovery after a major flood.

To help local CRS Coordinators better grapple with the post-disaster environment in which they and their communities find themselves, the CRS produced a Fact Sheet, Considerations for CRS Coordinators after a Major Flood.

The three-page summary reminds CRS Coordinators that community priorities typically shift after a major flood or other disaster—sometimes only for the short term but often for longer periods.  Some communities implement their strict building standards with more vigor in the wake of a flood; others decide that different issues must take priority.  And, personnel and other resources necessarily must be re-allocated.


 

What’s Changed in Risk Rating 2.0 and CRS

May 2022

Risk Rating 2.0 (RR 2.0) rating methodology now incorporates a wide range of rating variables; however, two major ones that are no longer used are Base Flood Elevations and flood zones.  In the old methodology (RR 1.0), properties in moderate-low risk zones (e.g., B, C, X) with minimal losses could qualify for a lower-cost Preferred Risk Policy (PRP); however, they did not receive a CRS discount.  If they did not qualify for the PRP, they could be written as a standard-rated Zone X policy and receive 5% or 10% discount depending upon the CRS Class.  Buildings in Zone A would get the full discount.

In RR 2.0, because the flood zone is no longer a rating variable, the discount that had applied to just Zone A policies now applies to all policies.  So, a policy in Zone X receives the same discount.  While there are numerous variations and nuances.

Link to the two-page Fact Sheet– RR+2.0 Fact Sheet and CRS.

 


 

Bulletin Aligning Mitigation Planning and the Community Rating System

October 23, 2018

Written by Amanda Sharma, MBA, MRLS, CFM – FEMA Headquarters Mitigation Planner/Analytics

FEMA’s local mitigation planning and the CRS program’s Activity 510 Floodplain Management Planning are aimed at guiding communities through a planning process that can help them move from being aware of their natural hazard risk to acting to reduce it.  Nationwide, more than 20C,000 jurisdictions have an approved or approvable-pending-adoption hazard mitigation plan.  At the same time, 22,000+ communities participate in the NFIP, and nearly 1,500 of those participate in the CRS.

Obviously, these programs are not mutually exclusive.  They were created for different purposes, but have the same goal: to help communities reduce threats and losses caused by floods and other natural hazards.  After all, 99 percent of communities enrolled in the CRS also engage in local hazard mitigation planning plans.  So, if communities are engaging in both kinds of planning, why must they write two different, separate plans?

The National Mitigation Planning Program at FEMA tackled this question in its new publication, Mitigation Planning and the Community Rating System Key Topics Bulletin.  This document assumes the perspective of the mitigation planner and is organized around the local mitigation planning requirements.  It aligns mitigation planning requirements to Activity 510 Floodplain Management Planning steps, with helpful hints and advice about common challenges associated with coordinating the processes.  The Bulletin is intended to help community officials integrate the two planning processes to produce more effective flood mitigation actions and meet the criteria of both programs more efficiently.  The full authorities for each process have not changed.  They are available in the CRS Coordinator’s Manual (2017).

Communities could save planning participants time, maximize available resources, and add value by building connections to streamline their planning processes.  If you’ve thought about developing a combined local mitigation and CRS Activity 510 plan, check it out.

 

 

 

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