Congressman Bill Keating has introduced HR 3135, the Community Flood Insurance Savings Act. This legislation will provide resources so individual towns and municipalities with areas at elevated risk of flood can form regional partnerships and share the cost of flood mitigation tailored to their needs. This specifically includes sharing the costs of participation in the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS) and hiring regional-level CRS program coordinators.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA): “CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities. 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.”
“Small towns and municipalities often can’t afford the time or expense of coordinating Community Rating System program compliance,” said Congressman Keating. “This legislation will encourage these communities to form area-wide partnerships, apply for resources to support regional-level coordinators who will manage the CRS program for each of the towns in these partnerships, and ultimately, work together on cost-saving mitigation projects to qualify their residents for discounted rates on their flood insurance premiums. These savings can be difference makers for families trying to afford their first home and for new businesses hoping to open their doors to their neighbors.”
Locally, this type of collaboration on flood insurance has proved fruitful. In just two years since her position was created, Shannon Jarbeau, the regional CRS Coordinator for Barnstable County, has helped four towns maintain their CRS discounts, three towns to join the program, and four additional towns to begin the CRS application process. Some of these towns are already saving 10% on their premiums, and some may see discounts as great as 15% in the next year.
“I am pleased that our work on flood insurance issues and the CRS with Congressman Keating has contributed to the Community Flood Insurance Savings Act,” said Shannon Jarbeau, Community Rating System and Floodplain Management Coordinator at the Barnstable County/Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. “My hope is that regions in other parts of the country will be able to take advantage of the grants in this bill and help their homeowners and small businesses save money on their flood insurance premiums.”
“I am truly encouraged by the potential savings for homeowners coming out of Congressman Keating’s legislation,” said Rita Coffey, National Association of Realtors Federal Political Coordinator for Massachusetts’ Ninth District. “By reducing the cost of flood insurance through community-wide mitigation, more people in the ninth district will be able afford the costs of their housing.”