Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Readers comment on business news

Sour Orange Award: Flood insurance rates spike | Dec. 15

Our economy will take big hit

As the president of a local title insurance agency, I can tell you that the fallout from the skyrocketing flood insurance rates is coming home to roost and is a huge problem for our local economy. It affects thousands of homeowners who don't live "on the water," but who do live in an area that might or might not flood at some time during their lifetime (or may have never flooded, but has been included on a FEMA map as being in a flood zone).

Since Oct. 1, thousands of Floridians have discovered that their flood insurance premiums are going so high that no one will buy their home. The real estate market in their neighborhoods is tanking, resulting in the loss of ancillary jobs. Realty companies, title companies, home-improvement companies, mortgage brokers, surveyors and home inspectors are all seeing the effects of this every day.

People who have a mortgage on their home are required to have flood insurance. Those policy premiums are scheduled to rise by $2,000 to $10,000 per year. And when the homeowner can't pay, and the house is foreclosed on, who will buy it with that crazy insurance premium?

And why did this happen? Because Congress has decided that this is where they are going to balance the budget (on the backs of people living in an area that might flood, but hasn't in decades) and they are all upset because the National Flood Insurance Program is in debt by $24 billion?

If we can spend $92 billion rebuilding schools and other infrastructure in Afghanistan, then why can't we continue to subsidize insurance rates for taxpaying Americans who have never had a flood, probably won't ever have one, and simply have to have this insurance for their mortgage loan? It's a matter of priorities, and Congress simply doesn't have them straight. Not by a long shot. Fix this mess or there will be pockets of empty houses all over our region.

And creating a state-run program will not solve this problem, either. The last thing we need are more undercapitalized companies that will not be able to respond if there is a flood.

Gary Gibbons, Tampa

Comments
What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

Blame a lack of rail cars in Canada or not enough semi trucks in the United States. Forest fires didn’t help. Tariffs played a big role, too. Even the buoyant economy takes part of the rap for frothy lumber prices, which hit all-time highs las...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

What historically high lumber prices mean for Florida home buyers

Blame a lack of rail cars in Canada or not enough semi trucks in the United States. Forest fires didn’t help. Tariffs played a big role, too.Even the buoyant economy takes part of the rap for frothy lumber prices, which hit all-time highs last month....
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

Citizens considers hiking homeowners insurance rates about 8 percent

For the second year in a row, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is asking state regulators to approve hefty rate hikes because of an abundance of non-weather claims that end up in court. If approved, the average rates for homeowners covered by Citize...
Published: 06/20/18
A valet at this South Tampa Publix will park your car as you shop

A valet at this South Tampa Publix will park your car as you shop

TAMPA — Publix shoppers in South Tampa who hate circling the lot for parking can now toss their keys to a valet.The Publix at Dale Mabry and Neptune started testing a free valet service last week that could expand to more stores. Spokesman Brian West...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
As Tesla races to meet Model 3 deadline, factory pressures and suspicions grow

As Tesla races to meet Model 3 deadline, factory pressures and suspicions grow

Tesla chief Elon Musk said last week that the company’s layoffs of 9 percent of its workforce wouldn’t affect production as the all-electric automaker races to build thousands of new Model 3 sedans a week.But documents the company filed days later wi...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Published: 06/19/18
Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

Sign to report employees not speaking English at doughnut shop creates a stir

A sign asking customers at a Dunkin’ Donuts store in Baltimore to report employees who were heard not speaking English has set off a controversy.The sign, according tothe Baltimore Sun, would offer coupons to customers who reported workers at a dough...
Published: 06/19/18
Florida Bankers Association recognizes Bill Klich with award

Florida Bankers Association recognizes Bill Klich with award

Former Tampa Bay banking executive Bill Klich was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Bankers Association last week at an annual meeting in Palm Coast.Klich, 73, has a strong reputation with more than four decades of commercial ...
Published: 06/19/18
Jeff Vinik-backed construction material firm headed to Port Tampa Bay

Jeff Vinik-backed construction material firm headed to Port Tampa Bay

TAMPA — With $3 billion in construction on the boards, Water Street Tampa will need a lot of concrete, so a company whose largest investor is Jeff Vinik is moving to Port Tampa Bay to begin importing fly ash, a component of concrete.Spartan Materials...
Published: 06/19/18
Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

Drugs at your doorstep: CVS will deliver prescriptions to your home

CVS Health will make prescription deliveries nationwide to accommodate the heightened expectations of convenience from consumers. The nation’s second-largest drugstore chain says it also will make home deliveries of other items, like allergy medicine...
Published: 06/19/18