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Thursday, Nov 27, 2014
Commentary

Stop tidal wave of flood insurance rate increases in Florida


Published:

With all of the heat on Washington these days it is time to take a moment and thank Florida’s U.S. senators and representatives. Yes, I said thank them. These dedicated men and women are fighting on behalf of Floridians to stop the implementation of a massive national rate hike in flood insurance.

This legislation, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, unnecessarily harms Floridians and poses a serious threat to our businesses, communities and our economy. While the intent of the act to stabilize the National Flood Insurance Program may appear practical, it, in fact, burdens Floridians with the lion’s share of the program’s financial responsibility, which is simply unfair and unreasonable.

Second only to Alaska in terms of shoreline, Florida has 37 percent of the nation’s flood insurance policies. Florida’s homeowners, however, have supported the NFIP with more than $16 billion in payments during the past three decades, claiming only $3.7 billion during the same timeframe. Now, Floridians face insurance rate increases that are simply unaffordable. As our economy and real estate market begin to recover, now is not the time to create massive hikes for potential real estate buyers, businesses and homeowners.

Congressman Rich Nugent of Hernando County has introduced a bill to delay implementation of insurance premium increases until the Federal Emergency Management Agency has completed an affordability study, which was required by the law. Eleven other members of the Florida delegation co-sponsored the bill — Democrats and Republicans.

The Florida Association of Counties urges members of the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee to heed the call of Florida’s delegation and citizens to take action and delay imminent reforms. In the interest of transparency, Congress should prohibit funds from being used to implement rate increases and call for a full review of this act so that lawmakers and taxpayers may fully understand the real impact of these measures on our communities.

Let’s voice our support for readdressing the Biggert-Waters Act.

Bryan Desloge is president of the Florida Association of Counties. He is a county commissioner in Leon County.

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