BELMAR, NJ — Improved efforts by Belmar to reduce the borough’s flood hazard risk will translate into greater savings in flood insurance premiums for certain property owners with National Flood Insurance Program policies.

Under the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS), the borough has earned enough credit points through its latest floodplain management activities to elevate its ranking by one level to Class 5. As a result, property owners in “special flood hazard areas” can expect to see a 25 percent discount in their premiums, compared to the 20 percent savings they have received with the borough’s previous Class 6 ranking. Premium discounts in policies for properties in less flood-prone areas will remain at 10 percent.

Borough officials have been working with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees NFIP for about a year to improve the borough’s CRS ranking, according to Business Administrator Edward Kirschenbaum.

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“Based on that hard work by our team, we were able to get the (Class 5) rating for the first time for the borough,” he said.

Those efforts included establishing ways to better inform the community about flood hazards, flood insurance and ways to reduce flood damage, enforcing building codes and stormwater management plans, and ensuring new construction meets federal standards.

Flooding is a major concern in communities like Belmar, where the Atlantic Ocean is to the east, the Shark River to the west, Lake Como to the south, and Silver Lake and the Shark River inlet to the north. And the concern only has been compounded with the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

In Belmar, there are some 900 NFIP policies in effect, representing some $539,000 in annual premiums for nearly $253 million in total coverage, according to FEMA.

Implemented in 1990, CRS is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.

Nearly 3.6 million policyholders in 1,444 communities participate in the CRS. Although CRS communities represent only 5 percent of the over 22,000 participating communities, more than 69 percent of all flood insurance policies are written in CRS communities, according to FEMA. For more information of the NFIP’s Community Rating System program, click here.


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