Sen. Menendez Kicks-Off Series of FEMA Community Rating System Workshops

Sen. Menendez Kicks-Off Series of FEMA Community Rating System Workshops

Effort will lead to flood insurance discounts for NJ residents

BRICK, NJ - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today opened the first of a series of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workshops with municipal leaders from across New Jersey aimed at identifying ways to improve resiliency in flood-prone areas that will lead to substantial savings on flood insurance for their residents. Representatives from FEMA organized break-out sessions to answer questions and help guide local officials through the Community Rating System (CRS) Program.

"The more points a town scores, the lower its CRS Class, and the greater the discount its residents receive," said Sen. Menendez. "This is truly a win-win for everyone involved. Homeowners get discounts on their flood insurance premiums and FEMA gets to reduce risk and exposure to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)."

CRS is a voluntary program implemented in 1990 to recognize and encourage community-wide floodplain management activities that exceed the NFIP's minimum standards. It scores towns on a one-to-ten "class rating" scale, with one being the best, ten, the worst. Residents living within municipalities that undertake comprehensive flood mitigation strategies are eligible for five-percent discounts on flood insurance for every class, for an up to 45-percent savings.

"Increasing resiliency and making flood insurance affordable is an issue that requires coordination at all levels of government," Sen. Menendez said.

A number of Garden State communities are currently participating in the CRS program, with the highest rating in Class 5, amounting to a 25-percent reduction in flood premiums for their residents. However, there are many towns that do not participate in CRS or are eligible for much larger discounts.

"Flood insurance and the impact of the new Federal regulations have become issues of great concern for many residents of Brick Township," said Mayor John G. Ducey. "It is imperative for local leaders to do everything they can to help citizens being affected. The Community Rating System is one tool we can use to help."

The Senator told several dozen local officials in attendance: "We need you to coordinate a long-term, comprehensive, holistic approach to flood mitigation and we need you to rally support for investments in flood mitigation that will yield benefits to all of your residents for years to come."

Sen. Menendez authored the Homeowner's Flood Insurance Affordability Act to protect residents living in FEMA flood zones from the tsunami of skyrocketing insurance rates. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law last month.

Crystal Tramunti, FEMA's National CRS Coordinator, led the workshop. Among the municipal leaders in attendance included Mayors Ducey, Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken, William Akers of Seaside Heights, Suzanne Walters of Stone Harbor, Nick Russo of Longport Borough, Michael Ryan of Lake Como and representatives from communities in Ocean, Monmouth, Atlantic, Cape May, Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Union, Salem and Camden Counties.