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Flood insurance changes afoot in Florida and, with luck, the US

Tue Sep 22nd, 2015 on     Homeowners Insurance,    

With Labor Day behind us, we are nearing the end of the 10th anniversary of one of the most destructive hurricane seasons in American history. Much of the media coverage was devoted to Hurricane Katrina, perhaps rightfully so. Still, by the time Katrina hit in August, Florida had already been through Hurricane Dennis, a mere category 3 storm by the time it had finished with Cuba. In September, Hurricane Ophelia blew by, followed by Hurricane Rita. October started with Tropical Storm Tammy, with Hurricane Wilma following close on Tammy’s heels. It was a busy year.

Of course, we have had the time to look back at 2005 in part because this season has been so quiet. But 2005 left its scars: We now spend the months between May and November looking over our shoulders for the next big storm. From Tampa’s experiences this year, too, we know that some parts of Florida don’t need a hurricane-strength storm to wreak havoc. As we mentioned in our Aug. 31 post, Tampa dealt with some serious flooding following seasonal rains and Tropical Storm Erika.

Florida lawmakers are trying to address the problems posed by our penchant for building a little too close to the water. Flood insurance reform started with the enactment of Senate Bill 1094 — the new law also addresses development and building standards — but there are still problems that Congress could correct.

House Bill 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act of 2015, could do just that, according to its authors. The bill would move the federal government away from providing flood insurance, putting flood insurance licensure and regulation with the states, instead. It is the states, after all, that license and regulate other types of insurance.

We’ll continue this in our next post.

Source: The Tampa Tribune, “A Florida-born solution for addressing flood insurance issues,” Bill Newton, Aug. 26, 2015

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