Community Rating System (CRS)

The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to any community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The CRS program uses flood insurance discounts to reward cities, counties, and other communities for adopting floodplain management activities that exceed minimum NFIP requirements.

Program Overview

The goals of the CRS program are to reduce flood damage to insurable property, strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP, and encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management. Communities that join the CRS program are assigned a rating, or class, based on the number of floodplain management activities they implement in the following categories:
  • Public information
  • Mapping and regulations
  • Flood damage reduction
  • Warning and response
Within a CRS community, residents receive flood insurance discounts based on the community’s CRS rating, which can range from the entry-level class (10) to the highest class (1). A Class 10 rating does not confer any savings, but each class increase results in an additional 5 percent discount on flood insurance premiums for properties located in the community’s 100-year floodplain, or Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). These incremental discounts are shown in the table below.

 CRS Class  Flood Insurance Discounts in SFHA
 1  45%
 2 40%
 3  35%
 4  30%
 5  25%
 6  20%
 7  15%
 8  10%
 9  5%
 10  None

CRS within Snohomish County

Snohomish County, which joined the CRS program in 2006, currently has a CRS rating of Class 6. This means that flood insurance premiums for properties located in the county’s Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) are automatically discounted 20 percent, while premiums for properties outside of the SFHA are discounted 10 percent.

Other local communities participating in the CRS program include:
  • City of Monroe - Class 5 (25 percent discount in the SFHA)
  • City of Sultan - Class 6 (20 percent discount in the SFHA)
  • Town of Index - Class 7 (15 percent discount in the SFHA)

Program Benefits

The CRS program offers participating communities a number of important benefits, including the following:
  • Flood insurance policyholders in communities with CRS ratings of Class 1-9 receive discounts on their annual flood insurance premiums.
  • Citizens and property owners have increased opportunities to learn about flood risk, evaluate their individual vulnerabilities, and take action to protect themselves, their homes, and their businesses.
  • CRS floodplain management activities help to enhance public safety, reduce damage to property and public infrastructure, and minimize economic disruption and loss.
  • Communities can evaluate the effectiveness of their floodplain management programs against a nationally recognized benchmark.
  • Community officials can access free technical help as they plan and implement floodplain management activities.
  • Communities have increased incentives to maintain and improve their floodplain management programs over time.

FEMA Reviews

After joining the CRS program, a community must recertify each year that it is still carrying out the activities that allowed it to achieve its current CRS rating. In addition, approximately every three to five years, the community must undergo an extensive verification process, or audit. The results of the CRS audit determine whether the community’s CRS rating goes up, goes down, or remains the same until the next audit cycle.