TALLAHASSEE – A flood insurance bill authored by State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, passed its first major hurdle Jan. 8 with unanimous support in the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance.
The bill lays the framework for a private marketplace in Florida for flood insurance.
“In Washington this week Congress is debating a four-year delay to the drastic rate increases to flood insurance from the Biggert-Waters Act. We can’t rely on Congress to fix this, instead we must ensure Floridians are protected from egregious rate increases,” said Brandes. “This legislation puts consumers in charge and it offers flexibility to families struggling under the burdens of failed federal policies.”
“The federal government has proven incapable of running a financially sound flood insurance program, necessitating the development of a private market for flood insurance in Florida,” said Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville. “I commend Sen. Brandes for developing a common sense market-based solution to the problem of flood insurance in our state and I’m grateful to the members of the committee who supported his legislation today.”
“I applaud Sen. Brandes for working toward a positive solution to the staggering increases in flood insurance prices that many Floridians are facing,” said Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, a bill co-sponsor. “By allowing for private market flood insurance solutions, Senator Brandes’ bill will provide more options for policyholders that fit their individual needs. The laudable goal of SB 542 is to help keep hardworking Floridians in their homes.”
The bill creates a wide range of flexible options for policyholders to choose so they can reach an affordable level of coverage for their property. The hallmark of the proposal will allow policyholders the option of covering either the outstanding balance of their mortgage, the replacement cost of their property or the actual cash value of their property.
The legislation is the product of extensive work between consumer groups, insurers, the banking industry, and real estate professionals and ensures consumers are protected in the new flood insurance marketplace.