City FEMA rating improves, making residents eligible for lower flood insurance premiums

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has upgraded the city to Class 6 in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.

That means residents in the city will be eligible for a 20 percent discount on flood insurance premiums for most NFIP policies issued or renewed on or after Oct. 1, according to a letter the city received from FEMA.

“This savings is a tangible result of the flood mitigation activities your community implements to protect lives and reduce property damage,” William Lesser, CRS Coordinator for the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, wrote in a letter to the city.

Updated: Flooding now expected to hit areas within Great Falls city limits [2018]

The upgrade is the result of the field verification for the city’s five-year cycle verification.

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

  • public information
  • mapping and regulations
  • flood damage reduction
  • warning and response

The 20 percent premium discount is for properties in special flood hazard areas, as designated by FEMA. Those not in the special flood hazard areas are eligible for up to a 10 percent discount since those premiums are typically already lower, according to FEMA.

The CRS rating automatically renews annually as long as there are no NFIP noncompliance actions, according to FEMA, and as long as the community continues to implement the activities in its annual recertification documentation.

If there are no changes, the city will have its next verification visit on the established five-year cycle, according to FEMA.

“I commend you on your community actions and your determination to lead your community to be more disaster
resistant. This commitment enhances public safety, property protection, and protects the natural functions of floodplains, and reduces flood insurance premiums,” Lesser wrote in his letter to the city.

City Manager Greg Doyon told The Electric that credit for the improved rating goes to Lonnie Hill, a city planner, and Charlie Sheets, who recently retired as the city’s floodplain administrator.

“They worked diligently to provide the necessary documentation that demonstrated the city’s compliance with FEMA’s flood plain requirements,” Doyon said.