City of Sarasota residents eligible for 25% discount on flood insurance policies as of Oct. 1, 2022

Savings will result from city efforts to reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property

This is a banner on the federal government’s website about the National Flood Insurance Program. Image courtesy FEMA and NFIP

On May 26, Lucia Panica, director of the Development Services Department of the City of Sarasota, emailed City Manager Marlon Brown just after noon.

“We have great news,” she wrote: The city had received an improved rating from the Community Rating System for flood insurance purposes. That would go into effect in October 2022. “This will result in a 25% discount to our residents,” Panica added.

“Awesome news for the City and for our property owners’ pocketbooks!!!” Brown responded, copying the city commissioners.

A document attached to those email exchanges showed that the city had received a total of 2,645 credit points from the Community Rating System (CRS). Those points were the reason the city was being upgraded from a CRS Class 6 to a CRS Class 5, the document pointed out.

For example, the document noted, the city had won 350 points for general and targeted outreach projects about the National Flood Insurance Program and 414 points for efforts to preserve about 25% of its Special Flood Hazard Area as open space, “protecting open space … with deed restrictions, and preserving open space in a natural state.”

For another example, the city earned 404 points for adopting a Floodplain Management Plan on Nov. 16, 2020 and “for conducting a repetitive loss area [analysis],” the document pointed out.

Yet another 179 points resulted from the city’s maintaining and using additional map data in the day-to-day management of the floodplain, along with related efforts, the document said.

The city received 89 points because documents relating to floodplain management had been made available in the reference section of the county libraries within the city, the document indicated. “Credit is also provided for floodplain information displayed on the community’s website,” that part of the document said.

On June 1, city staff formally announced the news of the upcoming discount on residents’ flood insurance premiums.

A news release explained, “The Community Rating System (CRS) is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.

“In CRS communities, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community’s efforts to reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property and foster comprehensive floodplain management,” the release added.

“Property owners in the City limits already save an average of more than $200 annually on their flood insurance policies under Sarasota’s current Class 6 rating,” the release pointed out. City property owners will see the new 25% discount — “bringing the average savings to $258 a year — on any new flood insurance policy or policy renewal on or after Oct. 1, 2022,” the release added. “Collectively, Sarasota residents will save more than $2 million on flood insurance thanks to the City’s work with the CRS program.”

This is a page in a 2012 state ‘Quick Guide’ to flood management. This is the FEMA link noted on that page. The document is among many available through the City of Sarasota website. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

“We’re very pleased about this improved rating and the resulting benefits for city residents and property owners,” said City Manager Brown in the release. “We appreciate the diligent efforts of Floodplain Manager Cyndi Cahill and Emergency Manager Todd Kerkering in helping Sarasota earn the enhanced Class 5 rating and mitigate our community’s flood risk,” he added in the release.

City officials also are reminding residents that homeowners’ insurance does not cover flooding, and with the start of the Atlantic hurricane season on June 1, “now is the time to consider a flood insurance policy at the reduced rate,” the release pointed out. “Even if you do not live in a flood zone, flood insurance is available. Visit FloodSmart.gov to find information on flood insurance and learn more about what’s covered,” the release added.

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