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Bilirakis Takes Action to Address Pending Flood Insurance Rate Increases

September 30, 2013
Press Release

“Unaffordable flood insurance could potentially devastate home values, small businesses and entire communities across the country,” said Bilirakis. “Florida has some of the highest flood insurance premiums in the country, and home sales in flood areas throughout the state have virtually halted as a result of astronomical rate quotes. We must secure temporary relief for the millions of homeowners and small businesses susceptible to steep rate increases across the country. Flood insurance accessibility and solvency must be balanced with consumer affordability.”

Some potential buyers in Florida have received policy quotes ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 a year. These rate increases are not only affecting coastal communities, but also inland areas across the country. In many cases, rate increases are affecting properties that have never flooded and were built in accordance with all FEMA required elevations and applicable codes at the time of construction. These properties are now considered to be out of compliance due to new or proposed flood mapping by FEMA.

The first letter requests that FEMA keep Tampa Bay residents well-informed about the changes to insurance programs that cover natural disasters. This letter addresses concerns that changes to these programs were not communicated to homeowners in a timely or accurate fashion.

The second letter urges House Leadership to once again lead and put forth a measure to delay the implementation of steep rate increases. It requests that a solution be included in the FY14 Homeland Security Appropriation Act or the forthcoming debt ceiling legislation, in addition to any legislative vehicle used to complete the appropriations process for the 2014 fiscal year. Finally, it also states that FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate supports these efforts.

Congressman Bilirakis is also an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3218, the Flood Insurance Fairness Act, which will postpone flood insurance rate increases until FEMA releases to Congress a report detailing the program's affordability and how to ensure reasonable rates for policyholders.

A copy of each of the letters is located here and here.

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