MONROE COUNTY, FL – As of Oct. 1, 2017, residents and business owners in Unincorporated Monroe County became eligible for federal flood insurance discounts up to 25 percent. These discounts will result in more than $5.1 million in annual savings to the County’s 15,000 National Flood Insurance Program policyholders – an average of $350 per policy.
The discounts are an increase from the 20 percent most policyholders experienced in 2016.
All the discounts are due to the County’s active participation in the Community Rating System (CRS). This voluntary incentive program rewards communities that take actions – which exceed the minimum standards required by the National Flood Insurance Program – to protect people and property from flooding.
Only 5 percent of the more than 22,000 communities nationwide, in the National Flood Insurance Program participate in the CRS.
Monroe County Assistant County Administrator Christine Hurley said the program provides three benefits: It makes Monroe County a safer place to live. It reduces the economic impact of flood hazards. And it saves citizens millions on their flood insurance policy premiums. The need for floodplain compliance is even more evident after seeing the flood damage done by hurricane IRMA.
Discounts are 25 percent for most policyholders who reside in the highest risk areas of flooding in Unincorporated Monroe County and 5 percent for most of the other policyholders who reside in less flooding prone areas.
These discounts are based on Monroe County’s rating as a Class 5 Community. Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the highest. They are based on a complex formula that assigns points for 19 possible proactive actions that reduce flood risk.
Beginning Oct. 1, the new premium discounts automatically are included on NFIP renewal and new policies. They will be listed as a “CRS” discount. Contact your insurance agent to learn specifics about your policy.
Unincorporated Monroe County became eligible to rejoin the CRS in November 2015, when it became in complete compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program. The County had been working diligently for years to address decades-old, impermissible downstairs enclosures in flood zones. This problem had led to the County’s ineligibility to continue participating in the federal discounts program.
This non-compliance issue, if not rectified, also would have led to exclusion from the NFIP. That would have made it difficult, if not impossible for property owners to get flood insurance on structures with federally backed mortgages. And federally backed mortgages require flood insurance for property in flood zones.
The private group Fair Insurance Rates for Monroe (FIRM) and the State Office of Floodplain Management in Tallahassee helped the County to navigate the National Flood Insurance Program issues and become eligible for the CRS program.
The County will continue to work toward improving the Community’s rating for even larger discounts for 2019.
For more information about the NFIP’s CRS program, go to https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-rating-system.