Through policy leadership and collaboration across multiple city departments, the City of Miami Beach has successfully improved its Community Rating System (CRS) score from Class 6 to Class 5, which will increase flood insurance premiums savings from 20 to 25% citywide effective May 1, 2019. The CRS is a voluntary program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) allowing communities to earn flood insurance discounts of up to 45%. Under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), cities can earn points for conducting floodplain management activities that surpass the minimum NFIP requirements, ranging from preserving open space to disseminating information on flood insurance to relocating flood-prone structures. Miami Beach’s improved score is expected to increase community insurance savings by $1.7 million annually.
While Miami Beach is frequently cited as an extremely vulnerable municipality, earned a large amount of points through its community outreach and communications efforts, which includes activities like:
- Providing informational material through newsletters and fact sheets
- Providing hurricane guides
- Developing a pre-flood plan for public information, as well as a letter to the repetitive loss areas.
“Improving our CRS score to a Class 5 was truly an all-hands-on-deck effort,” said Deputy Resilience Officer for the City of Miami Beach Amy Knowles. “We achieved the extra points needed by carefully connecting our Floodplain Manager’s expertise with our resilience communications and sea level rise adaptation approaches.” This action aligns with the Regional Climate Action Plan’s recommendation for maximum participation in the CRS program and broaden education of homeowners and businesses on flood proofing, elevation of structures, and open space for water storage (ER-7). A list of communities participating and their score classes from the last CRS update in 2016 can be viewed here.