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Florida lawmakers introduce new bill that could save money on flood policies, attract homeowners

Tarik Minor, Anchor, I-TEAM reporter
Published: May 1, 2024, 6:10 PM
Updated: May 6, 2024, 9:33 AM

FLORIDA – Florida lawmakers introduced a new bill that could save customers money on flood policies and encourage more homeowners to get insurance.

Insurance industry experts say the past two years in Florida should be a wake-up call in the face of the wind and rain.

Homeowners not only suffered property damage from hurricane-force winds, more Floridians are experiencing flooding in areas, that they didn’t think would be prone to high water.

“We’ve seen historic level rain events over the past year in Florida, nothing to do with hurricanes. These are just spring or summer storms that just dumped on certain areas of the state. And we saw thousands of homeowners suffer damage and many of them did not have coverage because they said well, I don’t live in a high risk area. I’m not near the coast. I didn’t think I needed it. Well to be fully financially protected. Everybody should consider it because there’s no area in Florida that is immune to flood damage,” Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute said.

He said Florida is seeing a slight uptick in flood insurance, but four out of every five Florida homeowners still don’t have coverage according to the latest statistics.

Congressman Byron Donalds and Senator Rick Scott introduced new legislation that could encourage Floridians to start shopping for flood insurance called “The Flood Insurance Relief Act.”

Friedlander said Congress is concerned about the rising costs to keep the National Flood Insurance Program afloat, which is managed by FEMA and has been operating at a deficit for years.

He said the federal government hasn’t been charging enough money to homeowners for the risk they are writing. The goal of the Flood Insurance Relief Act is to attract more homeowners to get insurance.

“Whether it’s through NFIP or the private market, it needs to be actuarially sound to have a viable flood insurance market. The private market is growing. About a third of all U.S. flood policies are now written by private flood insurers. We recommend taking advantage of the robust flood market we have here in Florida,” Friedlander said.

The Flood Insurance Relief Act would provide a tax break with all flood policies, not just NFIP policies but also private policies as well.

According to the NFIP, the average cost of a flood insurance policy in Jacksonville is $710 now.

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