New insurance rating is good news for city

Published 5:47 pm Friday, January 18, 2008

Picayune’s recent acquisition of a rating of eight under a flood insurance rating program provides a discount on flood insurance to all city residents.

Depending on the location of the home that discount could be five percent or 10 percent under the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System. Discounts will be available May 1, on any new or renewed flood insurance policies.

To be eligible for a ten percent discount a home must be located with in the special flood area, said City of Picayune Flood Plain Manager Tammy Campbell. A map of flood plain areas is available at city hall.

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Campbell said there are about 292 flood insurance policies in Picayune and 89 structures within the special flood area. A structure within the special flood area has a one percent chance of flooding annually, which usually requires the homeowner to have flood insurance, Campbell said.

Structures outside the special flood area in Picayune have a .02 percent chance of flooding annually.

“That area does not require flood insurance and does not require you to build up, but I recommend it,” Campbell said.

Participation in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System is completely voluntary.

“It’s basically an incentive for communities to go above and beyond their minimum flood plain management requirements,” Campbell said.

Campbell has been working on acquiring a rating for the city for about 10 months through a series of 18 activities.

Flood zone maps are currently available at city hall, although new maps have been researched and will be available after a public hearing is held and they are approved. That hearing will take place Feb. 19th at the city council chambers at 6 p.m.

The NFIPCRS rating system works on a system of points, where points are counted for such things as the type of software the city uses for permitting, if a certified flood plain manager is on staff and if a number of activities are completed, Campbell said. Since Campbell is a certified flood plain manager and uses the proper permitting software she helped earn points in the city’s favor. One of the completed activities involved a Community Assistance Visit where an audit of the city’s records ensured the city was in compliance of NFIPCRS requirements. Campbell said the city passed that audit in February of 2007.

Currently the city has a total of 1,452 points, 48 points shy of a rating of seven. To achieve a seven rating an audit of the city’s building code records is required. If the city passes the audit not only will home owners within the special flood area get a 15 percent discount, but all residents will be eligible for a discount on homeowners insurance. Homes outside of the special flood area will still only be eligible for a flood insurance discount of five percent with a rating of seven.

In the next five years Campbell hopes to help the city achieve a rating of six, providing a discount of 20 percent to homes inside the special flood area and a 10 percent discount to all other homes.

“I will strive to get the city the best rating possible,” Campbell said.

Some assistance in achieving the city’s rating was provided by Waveland Fire Chief David Garcia, who is a member of the CRS task force team. Campbell said Waveland has a rating of five, the best in Mississippi where only 21 communities participate.

An overview of the program is available at the city’s website at A number of books on flood insurance and flood protection are available at Campbell’s office, free of charge.

Before working in Picayune Campbell worked for eight years with Hancock County’s flood plain management as the assistant to the building inspector and assistant flood plain manager. Since Hurricane Katrina Campbell has been with the City of Picayune, she said.