Henrico property owners to save on flood insurance due to new certification

Henrico County property owners will be able to save on flood insurance costs beginning in October with the county’s participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System (CRS). The county is entering the system with a rating of Class 5* — one of the highest in the state and the highest ever obtained by a municipality in its first year under the current program requirements, according to FEMA.

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“The CRS program recognizes our commitment to responsibly managing our floodplains. It’s about doing our best to ensure our community is safer, more informed, and better prepared for flood risks today and in the future,” said Kristin Owen, Henrico’s floodplain and dam safety manager.

The CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk. Points are awarded to the community based on its floodplain management practices, with the number of points determining a community’s rating. Ratings range from Class 10 (0-499 points with a 0% discount) to Class 1 (4,500+ points, with a 45% discount).

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With Henrico’s Class 5* rating, property owners will automatically receive a 25% discount on flood insurance premiums through the NFIP. In Henrico, about 1,500 homes, commercial buildings and other structures are located within a floodplain. This new rating is estimated to save an average of $145 per flood insurance policy.

The asterisk indicates that Henrico has the required number of points for a higher rating of Class 4. A Class 4 rating requires a community to have a watershed management plan and other prerequisites. The Department of Public Works intends to add these plans to its floodplain management practices within the next year to increase the rating.

The CRS gives points to communities from 19 categories based on floodplain management. Henrico received the maximum number of points for map information services and outreach programs, and received more than four times the points than the average community in the nation for the higher regulatory standards category, as of FEMA’s data from October 2023.

“Protecting the floodplains in Henrico County is a top priority to us,” Owen said. “It’s about ensuring that we have sustainable development practices that minimize flood damage and enhance our community’s resilience, so Henrico can continue to thrive.”

Savings can fluctuate greatly from one policy to another depending on several factors such as floodplain elevation and location. The number of affected parcels and structures may change as well, as Henrico is currently working to update the county’s community floodplain maps by next spring, following FEMA’s map update this year. This update will have the added benefit of increasing the number of points to Henrico’s overall CRS rating.

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