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Friday, Jul 11, 2014

Seminar on flood insurance hike slated for Gulfport


Pinellas County officials and area insurance professionals will offer a seminar Thursday night in Gulfport to update the community on the effects of federal flood insurance rate increases.

The seminar begins at 6 p.m. at the Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd S., with speakers including Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov, agents with St. Petersburg insurance companies Holehouse Insurance and Wright Flood, and local real estate agents.

Flood insurance premiums have risen dramatically in recent months for older homes in flood zones built before the mid-1970s. The 2012 Bigger-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act removes subsidies on these older homes that had kept rates low for decades.

Primary residences will see a maximum of 20 percent increases each year, but the premiums jump immediately to the full risk rate when a home is sold, in some cases exceeding $20,000 per year.

Second homes, business properties and those with repeated flood losses are seeing immediate rate hikes.

A bipartisan bill under consideration in Congress would stop these rate increases until the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes an affordability study, but it’s uncertain it will go up for a vote.