Eligible policyholders who have flood insurance in the city of Richmond Hill can expect to save about $120 a year because of the city’s voluntary participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System.
This reduction is due to an effort by city staff to proactively reduce flood risk beyond FEMA’s minimum requirements. The city was recognized for its efforts at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.
“Richmond Hill is one of only 29 communities in the state of Georgia that has achieved a Class 7 or better designation from FEMA,” Mayor Harold Fowler said in a prepared statement. “This means policyholders located in the high-risk areas of flooding are eligible for a 15 percent discount, and lower-risk areas are eligible for a 5 percent discount.”
Sue Hopfensperger of the Insurance Services Office, which rates municipalities for things such as fire and flood protection, presented an award to the city for achieving the rating and said about 1,600 policyholders would receive the discount.
“Ultimately, everyone lives in a flood zone,” Hopfensperger said. “There’s only a 5 percent chance of a fire causing catastrophic damage to a house over the course of a 30-year mortgage, but there’s a 25 percent chance of catastrophic damage from flooding.”
Under the rating system, the city demonstrated efforts to meet three goals: reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance ratings, and promote the awareness of flood insurance. As a result, eligible policyholders will qualify for an average savings of more than $120 annually, with citywide savings estimated at about $200,000 annually. There are more than 2,000 flood insurance policyholders in the city, representing approximately $550 million in flood insurance coverage.
FEMA expects the discounts, which will be identified as a line item labeled “CRS discount” on the annual insurance bills, to take effect as flood insurance policies are renewed after May 1, 2016. Policyholders do not need to do anything to receive the discount.
More details about flood insurance, flood risks and the city’s floodplain management program can be found at www.richmondhill-ga.gov under “Flood Protection.”
In other business, council:
• Approved the site plan for a Burger King restaurant at 4414 Highway 17, next to the McDonald’s restaurant.
• Appointed Ron Elliott to the planning commission.