FEMA Releases New Bulletin Aligning Mitigation Planning and the Community Rating System

Oct 23, 2018 | News & Views, What's New

by Amanda Sharma, MBA, MRLS, CFM – FEMA Headquarters Mitigation

FEMA’s local mitigation
planning and the CRS program’s Activity 510 Floodplain Management Planning are aimed
at guiding communities through a planning process that can help them move from
being aware of their natural hazard risk to acting to reduce it. Nationwide,
more than 20,000 jurisdictions have an approved or approvable-pending-adoption
hazard mitigation plan. At the same time, 22,000+ communities participate in
the National Flood Insurance Program, and nearly 1,500 of those participate in
the Community Rating System.

Obviously, these
programs are not mutually exclusive. They were created for different purposes,
but have the same goal: to help communities reduce threats and losses caused by
floods and other natural hazards. After all, 99 percent of communities enrolled in the
CRS also engage in local hazard mitigation planning plans. So, if communities
are engaging in both kinds of planning, why must they write two different,
separate plans?

The National
Mitigation Planning Program at FEMA tackled this question in its new
publication, Mitigation
Planning and the Community Rating System Key Topics Bulletin. This
document assumes the perspective of the mitigation planner and is organized
around the local mitigation planning requirements. It aligns mitigation
planning requirements to Activity 510 Floodplain Management Planning steps,
with helpful hints and advice about common challenges associated with
coordinating the processes. The Bulletin is intended to help community
officials integrate the two planning processes to produce more effective flood
mitigation actions and meet the criteria of both programs more efficiently. The
full authorities for each process have not changed. They are available in the Local
Mitigation Plan Review Guide (2011) and the CRS
Coordinator’s Manual (2017).

could save planning participants time, maximize available resources, and add
value by building connections to streamline their planning processes. If you’ve
thought about developing a combined local mitigation and Activity 510 plan,
check it out.

If you have questions about
the Mitigation Planning and the Community Rating System Key Topics Bulletin,
please contact

And Other FEMA News You Can Use

FEMA releases updated FEMA 213, “Answers to Questions about Substantially Improved/Substantially Damaged
Buildings (2018)”

A joint effort by the Building Science Branch and Floodplain Management
Division, an updated FEMA 213 significantly expands the number of questions
answered in the 1991 version of the publication. The enforcement of the SI/SD
requirements can be a major concern for local officials, especially after their
communities experience widespread damage from floods or other disasters. The
questions and answers in the revised FEMA 213 are intended to guide floodplain
administrators, building officials, building inspectors, zoning administrators,
citizen planning boards, and elected and other local officials who have roles
in enforcing floodplain management and building codes. It is also helpful for
architects, engineers, contractors, building owners and others.

FEMA 213 provides short answers to many questions and concerns, while
encouraging local officials and others to refer to more complete guidance in
FEMA P-758, “Substantial
Improvement/Substantial Damage Desk Reference.” Each question includes a
text box referring readers to specific sections in the SI/SD Desk Reference.

FEMA 213 is available here on FEMA’s Floodplain Management Publications webpage. ASFPM Committee co-chairs will be reviewing this to
see if there are areas of concern.

Announces the Release of the New NFIP Flood Insurance Manual

FEMA released a new, easy to
use Flood
Insurance Manual Oct. 1, which supersedes the previous FIM. FEMA
designed the FIM with the insurance professional in mind. There are three
program changes announced in the new manual:

expanded Newly Mapped rating eligibility (effective Oct. 1, 2018), appears in
the How to Write section.

added Cancellation Reason Code 26 to the How to Cancel section of the FIM to
allow cancellation of an NFIP policy when a policyholder has obtained a
duplicate policy from sources other than the NFIP.

requirements of Preferred Risk Policy eligibility for certain cancellation
reasons appears in the appropriate cancellation reasons within the How to
Cancel section of the FIM.

What is RR2.0?

Rating 2.0 will be a whole new approach for the NFIP to rate flood insurance and
provide updated policy forms. It actually is called the Risk Rating and Policy
Forms Redesign initiative, which is to deliver rates that are fair, clear and
use current technology and data; and use policy forms that are simple, align
with the industry, and provide choice. The new rating plan will use replacement
cost value, commercial catastrophe models and NFIP mapping data, intuitive
rating variables and easily collected data. The rates will reflect a more
graduated view of the risk (not just in or out) and reflect different types of
flood risk (e.g., fluvial, pluvial, storm surge). FEMA will also be increasing
the number of policy forms from three to at least nine. FEMA will be rolling
out rates in segments, with the first rates and rating structure to be
effective April 2020 for single-family homes in the coastal Southeast (i.e., TX
to FL to NC). This is where FEMA has the most policies and most availability of
up-to-date data. The order of rollout for additional segments will be
determined by FEMA at a later date. ASFPM will keep you updated with additional