Wrightsville Beach residents are now seeing a larger discount in their flood insurance rates as a result of the town’s score on the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System.
The new rates feature a 15 percent discount for residents after the town improved from a Class 8 rating to Class 7. Previously residents only saw a 10 percent discount when the town was listed as Class 8. The effective date of the new rate is Oct. 1, 2014.
Tony Wilson, Wrightsville Beach planning and parks director, said the town officially received notice of the change in late November. Wilson said his department did everything it could to help residents realize more savings.
“They come in to do an audit of all our permitting system checks to make sure we are doing things correctly and you get certain points for certain things,” Wilson said. “We thought with the cost of insurance for property owners we could try to do everything we can to reduce a little bit of that cost.”
The Community Rating System was established in 1990 to encourage community floodplain management standards exceeding those established by the National Flood Insurance Program. Around 2,000 communities participate in the program nationwide and communities are rewarded for meeting goals like reducing flood damage to insurable property, strengthening the NFIP and encouraging a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.
Wilson said communities have the ability to earn points for keeping records like elevation certificates and providing flood information to stakeholders like homeowners, engineers and the general public.
Around 10 years ago Wilson said the town achieved a Class 5 CMS flood insurance rating but the state government’s failure to pass an update to the International Building Code hurt the ratings.
“North Carolina did not adopt the full International Building Codes and when they did not adopt that some communities got hurt, and we were one of them,” he said.
The town’s properties west of the Heide Trask Drawbridge also prevent any further discount on flood insurance because those properties have different building codes.
“At one time we were a Class 5 and the best in the state probably 10 years ago,” Wilson said. “But because of building code regulations and our properties across the bridge we probably cannot get any better than a Class 7.”
Wilson said he was proud his department was able to secure a higher discount for Wrightsville Beach residents, especially considering the potential effects of the new floodplain maps, which could be adopted in 2015.
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