Flood Insurance and the Community Rating System
The City of Bellaire participates in the Community Rating System (CRS), a voluntary federal program that rewards communities for implementing higher flood mitigation standards by providing discounts on flood insurance policies to residents.
Recently, the City of Bellaire was downgraded from a CRS classification of a 7 to a 10, thus resulting in the loss of the 15% discount on flood insurance afforded to affected residents inside the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and 5% outside the SFHA. This is an unfortunate situation the Bellaire leadership team takes very seriously, and we fully understand the gravity of the problem. We have been working diligently to regain our status with the CRS program and have established a clear plan moving forward. Because of these actions, FEMA has allowed the City to re-enter the CRS program April 1, 2022 with an approved CRS classification of 9.
We want to share background information about this downgrade of the City's CRS rating and provide context and steps taken to address the issue. A timeline is provided below, with links to correspondence and additional information.
Recent events leading up to the classification downgrade:
- August 2017 Hurricane Harvey
- December 2019 The city received a request for an onsite verification visit from an ISO contractor. This verification visit was then delayed to August 2020 due to COVID.
- August 2020 A virtual visit was conducted and there was a request for corrections to specific elevation certificates and other CRS documentation required to earn CRS points. These items were due OCT-06-2020. Bellaire TX 480289 30-Day Letter.pdf
- September 2020 through December 2020 There was correspondence with the ISO Contractor. However, this request was not satisfied.
- January 2021 The ISO contractor issued a recommendation to retrograde the community to a class 10 to be effective OCT-01-2021. TX Bellaire 480289 Draft VR.pdf
- July 2021 Staff re-organization of Development Services Department.
- July 2021 Presentation at Bellaire City Council Meeting explaining CRS status.
The plan moving forward:
- August 2021 COMPLETED Reapply to CRS. Upon learning of the infraction, the City immediately went to FEMA. FEMA has permitted the City a "fast-track" to a class 9 rating (5% discount) effective April 1, 2022. Beyond, FEMA has allowed the City an opportunity to further improve our classification by October 2022.
- August 2021 COMPLETED Notified residents of information concerning flood protection issued to all homes within the 100-year floodplain. This action is a requirement that enables the City to earn CRS points associated with Activity 510 – Floodplain Management Planning COB Rl Letter 20210801
- August 2021 COMPLETED Established an email for residents to submit questions to staff BellaireCRS@bellairetx.gov
- September 2021 COMPLETED CRS Open House and Community Discussion with Q&A – (FEMA, Tetra Tech and City of Bellaire)
- December 2021 Update and provide a sub-damaged plan to FEMA.
- March 2022 Chapter 9 Code of Ordinance text changes. Incorporate sub-damaged plan requirements.
- April 2022 Secured a CRS rating of 9 (5% discount on flood insurance).
- July 2022 Reconcile the 2021 International Codes' Flood Resistant Construction provisions and the Flood Damage Prevention code sections within Chapter 9 of the Code of Ordinances.
- October 2022 Targeting to secure a CRS rating of at least 7 or better.
The table below includes significant project milestones associated with the Community Rating System program. Please note that all the tasks are on schedule, and it is anticipated that the remaining tasks will be completed on time as well.
What does this mean to you?
CRS Rating and Flood Insurance Discounts
100 Year Flood Plain Discount
500 Year Flood Plain Discount
Before October 1, 2021
October 1, 2021 - April 1, 2022*
April 1, 2022 - October 1, 2022**
Expected After October 1, 2022
* Please note FEMA Risk Rating 2.0 will go into effect on October 1, 2021. This may affect your insurance premiums.
** Anticipated discount.
You can visit the National Flood Insurance Program website for more information about flood insurance or call your insurance agent directly.
*Risk Rating 2.0 Equity in Action. (2021, April). https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/documents/fema_rr-2.0-equity-action_0.pdf
Check out the latest post on Mayor Friedberg's Blog: City on Fast Track to Restoring CRS Classification
Christian Somers, Floodplain Administrator