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FEMA's Community Rating System: How Flood Intelligence Can Reduce Flood Insurance Premiums

The City of Norfolk, Virginia, has reduced insurance premiums for its community by including FloodMapp's real-time flood intelligence in their Program for Public Information. The inclusion of FloodMapp data has improved their Community Rating System (CRS) Class Rating from a seven to a five, which has reduced premiums by 10%.

To put it simply, the better (or lower) your community’s CRS Class Rating, the less each individual will pay in flood insurance premiums. In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community’s efforts that address the three goals of the program:

  1. Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property

  2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program

  3. Foster comprehensive floodplain management

The inclusion of FloodMapp data can maintain awareness of flooding surrounding insurable properties and mitigate loss of life and infrastructure. This can help lower Class Ratings, therefore lowering individual insurance bills. The City of Norfolk (the City) did just this by implementing FloodMapp’s NowCast capability. NowCast maps flood inundation in real-time across the City and feeds that information into the navigation app Waze to alert and re-direct drivers around flood hazards and flooded roads in the area.

As a low-lying coastal city on Virginia's eastern seaboard, the City is no stranger to flooding, often having to manage flood impacts driven by tidal fluctuations, high-intensity precipitation, wind-driven events or hurricanes. Norfolk has been a key player in commerce, history and innovation in the United States and is home to a large population for its size due to the presence of entities such as Naval Station Norfolk, the world's largest naval base, Old Dominion University and Norfolk State University. In order to achieve the City's goal of becoming a Resilient City, which aims at designing a coastal city for the future, it became critical for the City to address key vulnerabilities that its community faces, such as flooding.

The City has made considerable efforts to improve their CRS rating in recent years as part of their goal to reduce flood vulnerability through completion of CRS-approved activities, such as stormwater debris removal and rolling out a watershed master plan. Tristian Barnes, the Floodplain Administrator for the City of Norfolk, said "the goal of CRS is to reduce insurance losses but also to ensure public safety,". FloodMapp's involvement with the City falls under their ‘Drive Safe, Park Safe’ program, aimed at alerting and re-directing drivers around flood hazards in their area. The City received extra credits for this program under CRS activity 610: Flood Warning and Response.

According to Barnes, FloodMapp's Waze integration has been a success for Norfolk. However, they continue to educate the public about the program, and other activities to mitigate flooding (such as Norfolk Alert), through social media and event attendance. "We have a large transient population, so education about flooding is important," Barnes said.

FloodMapp in use in Norfolk, Virginia through the Waze app

The City originally enrolled in the CRS Program in 1992. Since April 2022, the City has held a Class 5 rating, with eligible community members enjoying a 25% discount on their National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) premiums. Norfolk's short-term goal is to achieve a CRS Class Rating of three, but ultimately hopes to have a Community Rating of one, which would enable eligible community members to receive a 45% discount on their NFIP flood insurance premiums.

To learn more about how FloodMapp's products can provide points towards improving an individual community's CRS Class Rating, check out our recent blog post or get in contact via

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