Long Beach seeks to lower flood insurance premiums for residents 

The City of Long Beach City Council recently explained how the PPI could reduce flood insurance premiums for residents. March 19, 2024 // Photo City of Long Beach via YouTube

By Olivia Hillestad

The City of Long Beach City Council recently took a step to possibly reduce flood insurance premiums for residents. During a March 19 council meeting, members adopted a new Program for Public Information (PPI) to share information regarding flooding, a measure that could bring the lower rates. 

The PPI follows the federal Community Rating System (CRS), which is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management practices that exceed the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

Long Beach participates in the NFIP and the CRS and is currently at a class seven rating. This rating gives residents a 15% reduction on their flood insurance. According to the City Council, implementing the PPI may move the city into a class six rating, which would reduce flood insurance premiums by up to 20%. 

“We have to be aware,” Long Beach resident John McCauley said. “We have to know where we are going to go when we have to evacuate. We have to think about flood insurance.”

The risks of flooding because of Long Beach’s location between Atlantic Ocean to the south and Reynolds Channel to the north have only been heightened in recent years, with heavy rainfall and catastrophic weather events like Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

A beach with a railing and a body of water

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According to FEMA, 97% of U.S. counties have a lower Risk Index compared to Nassau County. Above, a view of Long Beach in March. // Photo by Olivia Hillestad/Long Island Advocate

Much of the PPI involves educating the public, as according to the City Council, well-informed residents are more likely to make better decisions and take proactive steps to protect themselves from flooding. The PPI also calls for demographic-specific communication such as distributing information in both English and Spanish, as according to the City Council, 79% of the community speaks English and 15% speaks Spanish. As well, the council plans to use the senior services’ newsletters, as 18.4% of the population is 65 and older. 

“The amount of effort that the city is doing to save this money for our residents is fantastic,” said Kevin Reilly, vice president of the North East Bay and Canal Civic Association. “It’s a great program.”

Based on the plan from the City Council, the PPI aims to target 10 community message topics, covering various aspects such as flood hazard awareness, property insurance, emergency preparedness and responsible building practices. Additionally, existing public information projects are being revised and updated to incorporate these messages. 

“Step one is the adoption of the program for public information, and basically it’s a function of public relations for the most part,” said Joseph Febrizio, commissioner of public works. “It’s committing the city through about 15 public outreach projects, most of them of which we do already.”

Existing and new programs include some of the following from the PPI: 

  • Flood awareness bulletin newsletter.
  • Hurricane preparedness annual newsletter. 
  • Storm drain markers. 
  • City manager’s report with CRS messages.
  • QR code signage.
  • Social media efforts.
  • City manager to record CRS messages and YouTube channel with flood information.
  • Flood information flier. 
  • City of Long Beach City senior services newsletter.
  • Prepare with Pedro disaster coloring book. 
  • Flood response preparation.
  • Flood Safety Awareness Week paired with the state.
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Prepare with Pedro is a free activity book distributed by the Red Cross in both English and Spanish. // Courtesy City of Long Beach

Long Beach suggests that residents follow these tips before a flood: purchase or renew a flood insurance policy, know your flood risk by checking FEMA flood maps, take photos to conduct and a household inventory, elevate critical utilities, and make sure basements are waterproofed and your sump pump is working. More information can be found at