ORLANDO, Fla., March 5, 2014 – Realtors across Florida support the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, H.R. 3370, overwhelmingly passed the U.S. House Tuesday, 306-91.
“This action in Congress will bring the much-needed certainty our real estate market has been missing since Biggert-Waters went into effect, and provide immediate relief to Florida homeowners who were facing financial ruin due to sudden and drastic flood insurance premium increases,” said 2014 Florida Realtors® President Sherri Meadows, CEO and team leader, Keller Williams, with market centers in Gainesville, Ocala and the Villages.
Meadows added, “While good-intentioned, the Biggert-Waters Act had the effect of stigmatizing properties that are in flood zones. Current property owners, as well as those looking to buy, didn’t know if a new flood map might be adopted next week or next year. This legislation will give property owners in Florida and across the country peace of mind, by ensuring a slow and steady phase-in of risked-based increases.”
Cyndee Haydon, associate broker with Future Home Realty in Clearwater, noted that the unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Act was making Florida locations less attractive to families, retirees and others looking to move here, because of the dramatic, soaring cost of flood insurance in many areas.
“I’m excited that the legislation addresses the affordability of flood insurance and provides a ‘glide path’ for premium increases of about 15 percent a year (for those not paying the full rates yet),” Haydon said. “This takes out the fear and the unknown factor.”
Brandi Gabbard, chair of the Pinellas Suncoast Association of Realtors and broker-associate with Smith & Associates in St. Petersburg, said that the House bill allows for homeowners of properties that currently have subsidized policies with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to be “grandfathered in” again.
“That’s a huge win for homeowners,” Gabbard said. “We also hope to see more interest from private insurers to offer flood insurance policies. The Pinellas County area has seen good success with Lloyds of London and Homeowners’ Choice. There are several bills legislators are introducing in Tallahassee to support the private market for flood insurance. Encouraging competition among private insurers will be the long-term, sustainable answer for this issue.”
To see a statement from National Association of Realtors® (NAR) President Steve Brown, go to http://www.realtor.org/news-releases/2014/03/realtors-applaud-house-passage-of-bipartisan-flood-insurance-affordability-bill