Talbot County, Maryland, with more than 600 miles of shoreline is part of FEMA's Community Rating System, which helps lower flood insurance premiums for residents. (Photo: Shutterstock/Jon Bilous)

Although most flood insurance policyholders faced recent increases, residents of Talbot County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore bordering Chesapeake Bay, have received a reduction in their flood insurance premiums through the county’s increase of various floodplain management measures encouraged by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) oversees the NFIP, which administers the Community Rating System (CRS), a voluntary, incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed minimum NFIP requirements. The program’s 10 class rating levels are based on the number and type of activities voluntarily initiated by the participating community. Each level corresponds to a percentage discount on National Flood Insurance policy premiums within the community’s geographic area.

County took steps to protect citizens

As a member of the Community Rating System, Talbot County is one of a group of 12 Maryland communities that have received similar recognition. The county, which has more than 600 miles of shoreline, entered into the program as a Class 8 CRS participant on October 1, 2014, based on steps the county has taken to protect its citizens and increase its resiliency. The Class 8 rating qualifies eligible National Flood Insurance Program policy holders in the county for an average of more than $110 in savings on their annual premiums, with a total savings of nearly $107,000 annually for citizens of Talbot County.

Under the CRS, local officials are asked to meet three goals: (1) reduce flood losses; (2) facilitate accurate insurance rating; and (3) promote the awareness of flood insurance. Communities can earn a CRS rating by submitting an application explaining the projects they have in place or development. After the information is verified and approved, FEMA provides flood insurance premium discounts through the NFIP. The amount of a property owner’s policy discount is based on the community’s CRS rating.

Residents receive 10% reduction on flood insurance premiums

For each class that a community moves up to, it provides its residents with an additional 5% reduction in their flood insurance premiums up to the 45% reduction that a Class 1 community receives. As a Class 8 community, Talbot County residents receive a 10% reduction on qualified flood insurance premiums.

For information about flood insurance, property owners should contact their insurance agent, visit floodsmart.gov, or call the NFIP’s toll-free information line at 800-427-4661.