The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding on new and improved structures. Overall, the program reduces the socio-economic impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance, but also of flood insurance, specifically.
The Community Rating System (CRS) recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP standards. Depending upon the level of participation, flood insurance premium rates for policyholders can be reduced up to 45%. Besides the benefit of reduced insurance rates, CRS floodplain management activities enhance public safety, reduce damages to property and public infrastructure, avoid economic disruption and losses, reduce human suffering, and protect the environment. Participating in the CRS provides an incentive to maintaining and improving a community's floodplain management program over the years. Implementing some CRS activities can help projects qualify for certain other Federal assistance programs.
The City of St. Marys participates in the NFIP Community Rating System through a series of activities that increase awareness of and preparation for floods. St. Marys entered the CRS program with a CRS Classification of 7. This resulted in a 15% premium reduction to all policy holders located within the Special Flood Hazard Area. The city has recently improved to a Class 6. As of October 1, 2019, all policies written or renewed will receive a 20% premium reduction.
Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM): The official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community.
Elevation Certificate: A community's permit file must have an official record that shows new buildings and substantial improvements in all identified Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs)are properly elevated. This elevation information is needed to show compliance with the floodplain management ordinance. FEMA encourages communities to use the Elevation Certificate developed by FEMA to fulfill this requirement since it also can be used by the property owner to obtain flood insurance. Communities participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) are required to use the FEMA Elevation Certificate.
Base Flood: The flood having a one percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year. This is the regulatory standard also referred to as the "100-year flood." The base flood is the national standard used by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and all Federal agencies for the purposes of requiring the purchase of flood insurance and regulating new development. Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are typically shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).
Lowest Floor: The lowest floor of the lowest enclosed area (including basement). An unfinished or flood resistant enclosure, usable solely for parking of vehicles, building access or storage in an area other than a basement area is not considered a building's lowest floor. Communities are required to obtain the elevation of the lowest floor (including basement) of all new and substantially improved structures. All new and substantially improved structures must have the lowest floor elevated to or above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). Non-residential buildings may be floodproofed below the BFE.
Special Flood Hazard Area: The land area covered by the floodwaters of the base flood is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on NFIP maps. The SFHA is the area where the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP's) floodplain management regulations must be enforced and the area where the mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies. The SFHA includes Zones A, AO, AH, A1-30, AE, A99, AR, AR/A1-30, AR/AE, AR/AO, AR/AH, AR/A, VO, V1-30, VE, and V.