Preparedness & Recovery

FEMA Program Could Save Norwalkers 5 Percent on Flood Insurance

The program would offer 5% discount, which comes to about $168K in savings annually, or around $75 per policy holder.

by Robert Koch, The Hour, Norwalk, Conn. / July 5, 2017

(TNS) - Homeowners facing nature’s wrath along Long Island Sound and other flood-prone parts of Norwalk could get a break on their insurance.

On Thursday evening, the Common Council’s Planning Committee will consider enrolling Norwalk in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System program. The full council would have the final say.

The Western Connecticut Council of Governments, the regional planning organization representing 18 municipalities in western and southwestern Connecticut, has reached out to Norwalk and requested its participation in the rating system program.

“The program provides a discount for flood insurance policy holders in Norwalk,” reads a summary prepared by WestCOG and provided to the committee by Norwalk Director of Planning and Zoning Steve Kleppin. “As of 2014 Norwalk reported 2,247 policy holders, who paid $3.3 million in premiums annually. The program would offer 5% discount, which comes to about $168K in savings annually, or around $75 per policy holder.”

Stamford, Westport and Newtown are enrolled in the rating system program. Policy holders there are projected to see discounts of 15 percent, 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively, on their annual premiums, according to WestCOG.

A WestCOG representative is expected to attend the Planning Committee meeting at City Hall on Thursday evening and explain the rating system program.

The program recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum National Flood Insurance Program standards. Depending on the level of participation, flood insurance premium rates for policyholders can be reduced up to 45 percent, according to FEMA.

Michele DeLuca, Norwalk’s deputy director of emergency management, said the program uses a 10-point rating system similar to that of the Insurance Services Office for fire safety with 1 being best and 10 being worst.

“The more points we can meet as a municipality, there’s a reduced cost for the homeowner in some of their flood insurance,” DeLuca said. “Regular maintenance has to be done to maintain those points.”

Michael Towle, planner at WestCOG, would serve as program coordinator for Norwalk. The city’s Department of Planning and Zoning would be engaged in the effort.

The Planning and Zoning Department as well as the city’s Building Department are responsible for enforcing current flood regulations. Flood certifications and elevation certificates have been required for more than 30 years, Kleppin said.

Additional benefits of participation in the rating system program include better public safety, reduced damage to property and public infrastructure, less economic disruption and human suffering and better protection of the environment, according to FEMA.

WestCOG has provided Norwalk a draft enrollment letter, which would be signed by Mayor Harry W. Rilling pending council approval and sent to FEMA’s Boston office.

“The City of Norwalk is interested in participating in the Community Rating System (CRS) so that our residents will qualify for discounted flood insurance premiums,” the letter reads. “We will cooperate with FEMA, the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), and the CRS verification process to ensure that our credited activities are fully earned and warranted.”

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©2017 The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.)

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