Virginia Beach will see reduced flood insurance premiums. Here’s why

Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)
Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Residents and businesses will see a 15 percent savings on flood insurance premiums beginning May 1.

That’s because of the city’s successful application to join the Federal Emergency Management Agency/National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System, city officials said.

For several years, city staff has worked to become a member of the CRS, a voluntary program started in 1990 that encourages, and rewards efforts communities take to go beyond basic requirements to mitigate flooding.

“The application process is quite intense and involves extensive documentation of activities and programs eligible for points,” said Whitney McNamara, the city’s environmental planner. “This process included a thorough review of all city development codes and documentation of state, local, and privately-owned open space, as well as collecting documentation for other efforts the city was seeking points for.”

Virginia Beach will join 25 other Virginia communities currently participating in the program, including Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth, officials said.

The CRS uses a 10-level (or point) scale to evaluate efforts. Each level below 10 receives a 5 percent discount on flood insurance premiums. The city will join the program as a Class 7 community, which reflects the significant investment being made to mitigate flooding issues throughout the city.

Virginia Beach receives discounts for preservation of open space, higher building standards, and the Hampton Roads Hazard Mitigation Plan, among others, officials said.

“Becoming part of the CRS is an important step forward for Virginia Beach,” said Emergency Management Director Erin Sutton. “We are a coastal community, so flood insurance is a necessity. Residents who already have flood insurance will see a savings and people who haven’t felt they could afford it before might be able to get it now.”

Coastal flooding is of increasing concern to communities in Virginia and around the nation. (Southside Daily/Patrick Lynch.)
Flooding, especially on roads in Virginia Beach, is becoming more common. (Southside Daily/Patrick Lynch.)

All National Flood Insurance Program policies issued or renewed on properties in high-risk flood zones after May 1, 2019 will receive a 15 percent discount on premiums, according to a news release from the city.

Properties outside the high-risk flood zones are eligible for Preferred Risk Policies, which means properties located outside the high-risk flood zones are eligible for Preferred Risk Policies, which means they are already receiving a lower rate. The total savings as a result of the city’s participation in the CRS program will be in excess of $1 million per year.

For further information contact McNamara in the Department of Planning and Community Development at 757-385-8615. For more information on the rating system, click here.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.