Make us your home page
Instagram

Price hike expected for flood insurance

WASHINGTON — The National Flood Insurance Program, the only source of coverage for 2.1 million Florida households, will raise its rates by an average of 5 percent in October and maybe as much as 20 percent in high-risk areas over the next few years.

Federal officials also have told Florida insurance agents they can no longer provide discounts of up to 15 percent for their customers.

The looming increases are another jolt to home ownership in the state, especially in coastal areas or along inland waterways near sea level, where lenders cannot finance a mortgage without flood insurance. Some of the riskiest areas may even be excluded from coverage, making further development untenable in those parts of the state.

Higher rates are inevitable as Congress lumbers toward revamping the insurance program, which is mired in more than $18 billion of debt.

"People who receive the most subsidies in risky areas will see big premium increases, probably phased in," predicted Eli Lehrer, national director of the Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate at the Heartland Institute in Washington. "Rates have to go up. The real question is: Will the program be sustainable? It cannot continue at the rates it has now."

The impact is especially significant in Florida, home to 2.1 million of the nation's 5.6 million flood insurance policies.

The most vulnerable areas to flooding are on the southern tip of the peninsula below Lake Okeechobee and along the Atlantic coast east of Orlando.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has informed Florida insurance companies that as of Oct. 1 they will no longer be able to provide "rebates," or discounts that have sliced premiums for some customers by as much as 15 percent.

Ending rebates means that many Floridians will pay more, said Jerry Wahl, president of Statewide Condominium Insurance.

"Times are tough," he said, "and we believe all businesses should be permitted to conduct operations in accordance with Florida statutes."

Florida holds 37 percent of policies nationwide.

Price hike expected for flood insurance 05/03/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.