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. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans



    Business

    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.
  2. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  3. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  4. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  5. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]