Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News
  
 Search
  9911 Seminole Blvd. Seminole, FL 33772       Ph. 727-397-5563   View TBN's FREE e-Edition today!  
Click here to learn more
Pinellas County Facebook Twitter
County mobilizes on flood insurance change
Article published on
  Print E-Mail
 
CLEARWATER – Pinellas County officials are deeply concerned about the effect changes in federal law governing flood insurance could have on local residents and businesses.

County Administrator Bob LaSala told commissioners Sept. 5 that county employees were combining their expertise in a number of areas to learn all they could about the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s website, www.f­ema.g­ov, BW-12, requires FEMA and other agencies to change how the National Flood Insurance Program is administered to make it more sustainable.

“Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect the true flood risk, make the program more financially stable and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders,” the website says.

Bottom line, the changes will result in insurance premium increases for many homeowners and businesses living in flood-prone areas, including waterfront and beachfront properties in Pinellas County.

“I consider this a high priority,” LaSala said.

He said changes in the law were “more complicated and technical” than anticipated. He said it would take staff some time to prepare a presentation.

Commissioner Janet Long said information presented in a recent public forum on the matter had shown that Florida was the No. 1 recipient of the changes.

“There’s not a lot of time to take action,” she said.

The first phase of the law’s implementation began Jan. 1. A second phase, involving a much larger group of properties, begins Oct. 1.

“It’s unbelievable how many people don’t have a clue (the change is coming),” Long said.

LaSala said the Communication Department was part of the group working on the issue.

“We want to make sure we’re not yelling fire in a crowded theater,” he said.

He said Congressman Bill Young and others were working on trying to get officials to “hit the pause button” until more is learned about the effect of the new law.

Commission Chair Ken Welch suggested that the commission write a letter in support of Young and send a copy to the state’s senators.

Commissioner Susan Latvala pointed out that law didn’t just affect the beaches.

“It’s all waterfront property,” she said.

About NFIP and BW-12

U.S. Congress established NFIP in 1968 because insurance companies were excluding flood damage from homeowner’s insurance. The program allowed property owners in communities that adopted floodplain management ordinances and minimum standards in new construction to purchase flood insurance through NFIP.

Owners of existing homes and businesses did not have to rebuild to higher standards, and many received subsidized rates that did not reflect their true risk.

Costs of flooding have continued to increase since 1968. Claims following Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy make it clear that NFIP was not sustainable without an increase in rates that reflects true risks and costs.

FEMA says that currently about 80 percent of policyholders do not pay subsidized rates. Of the 20 percent that do, about 25 percent will be charged higher premiums starting this year. Rates will increase annually until they are “full-risk” premiums.

FEMA also says that 5 percent of policyholders with subsidized policies for non-primary residences, businesses and “severe repetitive loss” properties will experience rate hikes of 25 percent immediately. Subsidies will no longer be offered on policies for newly purchased properties, lapsed policies or new policies covering properties for the first time.

All policyholders, subsidized or not, will pay more for flood insurance as NFIP increases its reserve fund, as required by the new law. In addition, FEMA says remapping of communities, a task scheduled to begin in 2014, could result in premium changes for all policyholders. Full risk rates will be phased in for all policyholders over five years at a rate of 20 percent a year, and subsidies and discounts will no longer be available.

For more details about BW-12, visit www.f­ema.g­ov/fl­ood-i­nsura­nce-r­eform­-act-­2012.
Article published on
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.
Printable Version E-mail article
Featured Print Advertisers
Abbey Carpet & Floor of Largo
13120 66th St. N.
Largo
(727) 524-1445

Web site        View Ad
:)
Custom Couture of Tarpon Springs
208 East Tarpon Ave.
Tarpon Springs
(727) 238-7194

Web site        View Ad
:)
Tarpon Springs Recreation Division
2017 Sunset Beach Concert Series
Web site        View Ad
:)
Flooring America
9012 Seminole Blvd., Seminole
(727) 397-5509
100 Patricia Ave., Dunedin
(727) 733-1356

Web site        View Ad
:)
Florida Center for Back & Neck Pain
Dr. Greg Hollstrom
11444 Seminole Blvd.
Largo
(727) 393-6100

Web site        View Ad
:)
Oakhurst & East Bay Medical
13020 Park Blvd., Seminole
(727) 393-3404
3800 East Bay Dr., Largo
(727) 539-0505

Web site        View Ad
:)
Tampa Bay Newspapers
Online Advertising
For information, e-mail
webmaster@tbnweekly.com
:)
Advertisement
Online Services Directory
MEDICAL DIRECTORY   ONLINE DINING GUIDE
MEDICAL DIRECTORY ONLINE DINING GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
AUTOMOTIVE GUIDE REAL ESTATE GUIDE
Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News