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Pinellas County
Legislators propose flood insurance bill
Article published on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
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Photo courtesy LARRY AHERN
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, left, and Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, announce flood insurance legislation Dec. 17 during a press conference Tuesday morning at Pinellas Realtor Organization, 4590 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. The legislation promotes private marketplace for flood insurance in the state.
CLEARWATER - Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, announced flood insurance legislation Dec. 17 that will provide alternatives to the rising rates in the National Flood Insurance Program.

The lawmakers revealed their plans during a press conference Tuesday morning at Pinellas Realtor Organization, 4590 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater.

Pointing to the failed attempt by Congress to delay NFIP rate increases, Brandes filed Senate Bill 542 Dec. 17 and said it is time that Floridians have a free market Florida-based alternative.

“I will not stand on the sidelines while homeowners in our community are being forced out there home by more 'bait and switch' tactics in Washington,” Brandes said, in a press release. “Floridians deserve an alternative to the drastic rate increases of Biggert-Waters. This legislation builds a framework for a Florida-based solution that gives flexibility to homeowners. This will put Florida at the forefront of addressing this issue nationwide.”

“The flood insurance rate increases have a disproportionate impact on Florida and its housing market; it has a devastating effect on Pinellas County,” Ahern said. “We cannot wait for Congress to accomplish anything amongst the gridlock of Washington, but we can focus on private insurance solutions to increase competition and lower premiums.”

“Since the federal government is showing no interest in resolving this issue to the benefit of Floridians, Brandes’ bill could represent a positive approach relying on the private market,” Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said. “I am particularly encouraged that this bill allows homeowners to insure for the amount of the mortgage, without mandating insurance that does not meet their needs. I expect the bill will be given serious consideration by the Senate.”

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 companion bill is expected to be filed in the House of by Ahern in the coming weeks. Senate bill 542 will likely face its first hearing in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee in January.
Article published on Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
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