Floridians Will have Mandatory Flood Insurance by 2027

April 14, 2023

WFTS Tampa Bay:

As of last week, 1.24 million Florida homeowners have the state’s “insurer of last resort,” Citizens Property Insurance. But now, some are worried about a mandatory flood insurance requirement, even if they aren’t in flood zones.

A bill out of last year’s legislative special session aimed at helping curb the property insurance crisis requires all Citizen’s residential policies to also have flood insurance in phases starting this month to January 1, 2027.

“I said, ‘But I’m not in a flood zone. I’m on the crest of St. Petersburg; why do I have to get flood insurance?’”

That’s a question many Floridians are asking.

The requirement came out of the Florida legislature’s second special session of 2022 after Hurricane Ian.

We went to Citizens to ask why they need homeowners in non-flood zones to have flood coverage.
Following Hurricane Ian, you saw what happened in Orlando. So many people, even in the hardest hit areas, were not in flood zones and did not have flood insurance,” answered Citizens Spokesperson Christine Ashburn.

An analysis by CoreLogicafter Hurricane Ian showed uninsured flood loss from the storm cost $10 to $16 billion in Florida.

For many hurricane victims, claims become more complicated, involving mediation and even legal action with disputes of wind verse flood damage.

I believe the public policy correlation there is if you’re going to be insured to the insurer of last resort in Florida, where our rates are subsidized, right? And we can assess all Floridians if we run out of money; we want to be sure people are covered in the event there was a flood in their home, so we don’t have a wind versus flood argument with Citizens because of our government entity status.”

Garst said her lowest quotes for flood insurance were between $400 and $500.

I’m going from $1,800 up to $2,689, and the flood insurance would be an additional four to $500 on top of that,” she said. “Thank God I have… a little leeway because of my IRAs, but I don’t know how anybody does it if they’re just on Social Security.”

ClimateWire:

“It’s probably a good idea to mandate people to have flood insurance,” said Paul Handerhan, president of the Florida-based Federal Association for Insurance Reform, a consumer advocacy nonprofit. “It seems like that’s the only mechanism that really drives adoption.”

The requirement comes as federal lawmakers and officials are struggling to get more homeowners across the country to buy flood insurance and protect themselves financially against climate change.

Federal law requires people to have flood insurance on property inside a flood zone if it’s secured by a federally backed mortgage.

Yet many people flout that requirement, and less than 4 percent of households nationwide have flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is run by FEMA and is the main provider of U.S. flood coverage.

In Florida, the nation’s most flood-prone state, 19 percent of households have flood insurance. That’s the second-highest rate in the U.S. after Louisiana. Even so, 7 million households in the state don’t have flood coverage.

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