Community Rating System
The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary program that recognizes and encourages a community’s efforts that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) minimum requirements for floodplain management. North Kingstown’s entry date to the CRS was on October 1, 1993. The CRS program emphasizes three (3) goals: the reduction of flood losses, facilitating accurate insurance rating and promoting the awareness of flood insurance. By participating in the CRS program, communities can earn a 5 % -45% discount for flood insurance premiums based on the activities that reduce the risk of flooding within the community. North Kingstown is one (1) of ten (10) communities in Rhode Island that currently participates in the CRS and receive flood insurance premium discounts. North Kingstown has a CRS rating of 9, which entitles property owners to a 5% discount on their flood insurance premium. The total annual savings to all those policy holders in North Kingstown is $51,014.00, averaging $78 per policy holder. It is a priority and stated goal for North Kingstown to improve their CRS rating with each five-year submission.
The town submits a yearly report to the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) to demonstrate compliance with the CRS program. The town is also required to submit a more comprehensive 5-year report where extensive, detailed information is provided in order to garner as many points as possible to either maintain or advance in rating. The 2018 yearly submission can be viewed here: 2018 CRS Submission. The Town submitted a 5-year cycle submission in the Spring of 2019. The next yearly report is due in February 2021.
The CRS program has 19 credited activities for which each municipality can receive points towards a better rating. These activities include:
The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) has a CRS resource page available.
The FEMA CRS resource page also provides a good summary of the program.
The NFIP CRS Brochure gives good detail for local officials on the program.
The CRS Users Manual gives extensive. detailed information on each of the activities that communities can gain points to improve their rating.
The Nature Conservancy has a CRS-related publication, "Community Incentives for Nature-Based Flood Solutions" that addresses nature-based flood solutions—such as open space protection and wetland restoration— can effectively reduce flood risk and are creditable components of the CRS. The image below is taken from this publication and demonstrates what some nature based solutions might look like.
Source: "Community Incentives for Nature-Based Flood Solutions". The Nature Conservancy..
There is also a "CRS for Community Resilience Green Guide" published by the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFM) and Coastal States Association. The RI Coastal Resources Management Council was a contributor to this publication. Representatives of the Towns of Bristol and Middletown were also interviewed. As stated in the guidebook, the green guide "highlights 25 of the 94 elements in the 2017 CRS Coordinator’s Manual, which have beneficial impacts beyond flood risk reduction. The “co-benefits” this Green Guide seeks to feature include but are not limited to protection of the natural and beneficial functions of floodplains, creation of habitat for fish, fowl, and wildlife, enhanced air and water quality, restoration of natural ecosystems, a more sustainable environment, and creation of additional opportunities for recreation and interaction with nature".
The ASFM presented an Introduction the CRS Program at a workshop in 2017. It provides a good overview of the program.