The city will be downgraded from a class 7 to 10 in the classification system beginning Oct. 1, according to an Aug. 19 post on the city’s website. That downgrade in the system—a voluntary federal program that rewards communities for implementing higher flood mitigation standards by providing discounts on flood insurance policies to residents—will not only eliminate the 15% discount in flood insurance that applied to over 5,400 Bellaire parcels of land, but also the 5% discount applied to nearly 1,100 parcels, according to the city of Bellaire.
The downgrade in that system came after the Insurance Services Organization, which audits communities that participate in the CRS program, set a deadline for the city that it was unable to meet.
“The ISO set a deadline with a list of requirements to maintain the CRS rating,” a city spokesperson wrote in an email to Community Impact Newspaper. “The designated program coordinator at the time did not meet the deadline.”
The new flood insurance premiums will be effective for policies that are renewed beginning Oct. 1 through March 31, 2022.
Through work from both Bellaire city staff and FEMA staff, Bellaire anticipates to shift from a class 10 to a 9 beginning April 1, 2022, which will deliver a 5% discount on flood insurance premiums, according to the city’s website.
Meanwhile, FEMA will roll out a new methodology for calculating flood insurance premiums called Risk Rating 2.0, in order “to calculate premiums more equitably across all policyholders based on the value of their home and individual property's flood risk,” according to FEMA’s website. When it goes into effect, the new methodology will incorporate private sector data sets, catastrophe models, evolving actuarial science and more flood risk variables.
New policies beginning Oct. 1 will be subject to the new rating methodology while existing policyholders eligible for renewal will be able to take advantage of immediate decreases in their premiums. The remaining policies renewing on or after April 1, 2022, will be subject to the new rating methodology.
City officials said they are working to address the compliance issues that caused the drop in rating. In fiscal year 2021-22, the city will also review and revise other related processes and procedures, officials said.
Meanwhile, to help answer resident questions and provide more information about the classification system, the city will host an open house Sept. 8 with representatives from FEMA, CRS Consultant Tetra Tech and city staff. Residents can schedule a virtual or in-person one-on-one meeting throughout the day from 1-5 p.m. through the city’s website, or attend a community discussion from 5:30-6:30 p.m.