By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Sue Hopfe-nsperger, Certified Floodplain Manager, appeared before the Madison County Commission July 23, to present the county with an award and explain to them how that award would benefit homeowners in unincorporated Madison County when they purchased flood insurance.
Hopfensperger works for a private insurance services firm that helps insurance companies crunch numbers and establish a risk profile for communities through the FEMA-created Community Rating System (CRS). CRS also provides national recognition for communities that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program standards by creating new floodplain management programs or improving ones that are already in place. CRS provides a way to measure those community efforts that go above and beyond minimum NFIP standards for floodplain management.
There are 19 recognized community activities worth a set amount of points, and total scores are divided into a ten-class system. At the bottom is Class Ten, and every 500 points a community accumulates in the program moves it up one class; every class ranking also provides homeowners living in that community with a five percent discount on their flood insurance, if it is purchased through the NFIP. If the community is a Class Nine, the homeowners receive a five percent discount; if it is Class Eight, a ten percent discount, and so forth.
Madison County had been a Class Eight, earning a ten percent discount. It has now moved up into a Class Seven, meaning homeowners in unincorporated areas who purchase their flood insurance through the NFIP are entitled to a 15 percent discount.
In determining a community rating, the NFIP looks at a community’s fire safety rating, its fire department, the effectiveness of its building inspection program, emergency management services and a host of other areas. With discounts that increase as a community’s class ranking rises, the NFIP hopes to provide incentives for both citizens and communities to go above and beyond to put together a good floodplain management program. Madison was definitely headed in the right direction.
She also urged the county to promote purchase of flood insurance among its citizens, saying that having more residents with flood insurance means that the community as a whole bounces back faster from an emergency situation.
“Everyone lives in a flood plain,” she told the commission. “You don’t have to live near water. Nature doesn’t read a flood map.”
According to actuarial statistics, there is a 25 percent chance of a house experiencing a flood event over the life of an average 30-year mortgage, but only a five percent chance that it will experience fire.
In conclusion, she told the commissioners that she hoped to return next year, with news that Madison County had risen up to another class rating.