Community Rating System (CRS) Program

In 1990, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) launched the Community Rating System (CRS). CRS is a part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and awards discounts on flood insurance premiums based on communities’ efforts to mitigate flood damage.

Because of our unique expertise as a national rating organization, ISO was instrumental in the development of the CRS program, and has administered and implemented the program on behalf of FEMA since the program’s inception. The CRS program is overseen by the CRS Task Force, which includes a wide range of stakeholders and experts from the insurance industry, FEMA, states, and local communities.

Sherry Harper
Director of Natural Hazards

The program aims to foster three primary goals:

Goal 1. Reduce and avoid flood damage to insurable property. The CRS supports the NFIP by working to minimize flood losses nationwide.

Goal 2. Strengthen and support the insurance aspects of the NFIP. The CRS recognizes communities whose activities generate and contribute data that assist with accurate rating of flood insurance.

Goal 3. Foster comprehensive floodplain management. The CRS encourages communities to practice comprehensive floodplain and watershed management programs that are the key to building community resilience.

CRS communities are rated into classes based on the steps they take to meet these goals. There are nine CRS Class ratings providing flood insurance premium discounts ranging from 5 percent (Class 9) to 45 percent (Class 1).

Communities may choose from over 100 creditable elements in four categories of actions:

  • public outreach
  • mapping of the flood prone areas of the community and enforcement of regulations in the floodplain that limit and/or protect development
  • flood damage reduction activities, including planning, acquisition of buildings, and retrofitting of buildings in the floodplain
  • flood warning and response activities. 

Over 1,500 communities across the country have opted-in and participate in the CRS.

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ISO works with thousands of building code departments, fire departments, water suppliers, and local officials who look to mitigate risks and make communities safer. Due to ISO’s commitment to disaster safety and resilience in communities, FEMA uses ISO’s Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule program    (BCEGS®) to evaluate the adoption and enforcement of building codes, with special emphasis on the mitigation of losses from flood damage from natural causes.

To learn more about the CRS, see: https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-community-rating-system.

What Locals Say About the CRS

“The CRS has been an incredible benefit to our community. Along with saving the citizens many thousands of dollars in discounted flood insurance payments, it’s the intangibles that can be truly important to a community. Through public relations and communication, our citizens have been able to be prepared physically and emotionally for flooding and millions of dollars have been saved over the years through flood awareness, preparedness, and mitigation.”
Michael R. Brown
Mayor, Grand Forks, North Dakota

“Grand Prairie’s participation in the CRS program has proven to be a valuable tool in preserving property—both private and public—by reducing the occurrence of flood damage. It has significantly reduced the cost of privately purchased flood insurance and reduced the number of flood insurance claims for home and business owners.”
Greg Giessner
Grand Prairie (Texas) City Council, Place 8