Preparedness & Recovery

County Working on Lowering Flood Insurance Costs

The county has not been getting a discount from the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.

by Howard Greninger, The Tribune-Star, Terre Haute, Ind. / June 15, 2017
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(TNS) — A Vigo, Ind., County official is seeking a renewed focus on getting the county recertified into a higher level of a national rating system in hopes of lowering costs for county residents required to have flood insurance.

“For the past few years, our office has failed in one main area,” said Jared Bayler, executive director of the Vigo County Area Planning Department. “Due to any number of reasons, we are no longer [getting a discount] in the Community Rating System program.” Bayler became executive director in February.

“What this means is we are failing to provide to Vigo County residents discounts on flood insurance programs that are made available to them,” Bayler said.

The National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the program’s minimum requirements and encourages a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

The program has 10 levels, which allow insurance discounts of 5 to 45 percent. Residents in a county or municipality at Level 9 receive a 5 percent flood insurance discount. A Level 1 status yields a 45 percent discount.

Vigo County entered into the system on Oct. 1, 1995, and was retrograded to a Level 10 on Oct. 1, 2005, said Casandra Ringsdorf, spokeswoman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Level 10 does not yield an insurance discount.

“In order to be eligible for CRS flood insurance discounts, Vigo County must be in full compliance with the minimum requirements of the NFIP,” Ringsdorf said.

“FEMA Region V would have to visit the community, conduct a tour of the floodplain and determine the state of compliance. ... A CRS specialist would work with a community to determine which higher standards are being practiced and how many points the community will receive for its floodplain management and mitigation actions,” Ringsdorf said.

Bayler said he is adding the CRS rating program to a job description for an assistant director in his department. He hopes to have the position filled by mid- to late August. Bayler said it will take at least one year to become recertified.

Richard K. Jenkins, chairman of the Honey Creek-Vigo Conservancy District and a subdivision developer, said any reduction in flood insurance costs would be welcome.

Jenkins said the conservancy district is currently having its flood control dikes and flood walls certified. The district has hired Christopher B. Burke Engineering (in Indianapolis) for the certification. “We are spending about $400,000 for drilling and testing to submit this to FEMA to try to help reduce [insurance] rates” in the conservancy district. “We had the federal government design all the levees, but they don’t certify them,” Jenkins said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.

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