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Floridians facing huge rate hikes for federal flood insurance

6:26 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
Photo by the Associated Press
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Two million Floridians are facing huge rate increases for their federal flood insurance under a new federal law taking effect in less than two weeks.

It's estimated the Biggert-Waters Act could triple or quadruple some homeowners' premiums and raise their flood insurance bill thousands of dollars.

At the same time, those homeowners could see their property values plummet.

Trey Goldman of the group Florida Realtors says if your insurance rates are very high, that will drive down the price of your home and make it harder to sell.

Now federal lawmakers are hearing a growing chorus of opposition to the law from homeowners, realtors and state politicians, including Gov. Rick Scott.

Goldman says the law threatens Florida's housing recovery.

"We're all starting to see the recovery and get behind what happened a few years ago and things are promising. But to see this now come in is really going to harm a lot of policyholders in Florida. It will sometimes double, triple or quadruple in price and so it's really, really going to hurt people."

Congress passed the law because about 20 percent of homeowners with federal flood insurance pay artificially low rates. The Act is designed to make all policies reflect the true risk.

But Goldman says the law tries to accomplish that goal too quickly. "It's just too much too fast. We just need to slow this down."

Dave Heller

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