The Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, designed to encourage private insurance companies into the flood insurance market. Currently, Florida homeowners are often forced to obtain flood insurance through the federally subsidized national program. Our Miami Homeowners’ Insurance Claim lawyers know how the National Flood Insurance Program has undergone significant reforms in the past year, sparking hefty premium increases for residents in flood prone areas and those who own older homes that previously had subsidized premiums.
Public outcry over the monumental price increase caused Congress to enact a stop-gap measure that will delay the most expensive changes to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. The act, however, has not been repealed and increases will be phased in over time.
Under the plan recently passed by the Senate, homeowners could save money by purchasing less insurance than is currently allowed under the federal program. A Florida homeowner looking to cut costs could insure their property for only the value of the outstanding mortgage, the actual cash value of the property, or the property’s replacement cost. This is unique given that currently, under the federal program, the limits are $250,000 for a home and $100,000 for personal property. Further, the bill authorizes insurance companies to offer an array of deductible amounts and increased options for insuring the content of the home, secondary structures, and living expenses.
The bill emphasizes consumer choice and is lauded by supporters as bringing Florida to the forefront of the flood insurance marketplace. Currently, very few private companies offer flood insurance in Florida. The Flood Insurance Agency, out of Gainesville, writes these policies, as does Tampa based Homeowners Choice Property and Casualty Insurance.
The National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, writes more policies in Florida than anywhere else in the U.S. Thirty seven percent of its policies are written in Florida. Unfortunately, the state is the net loser in the program. Only $3.7 billion of the $50 billion paid out over the history of the program has been paid to Floridians.
Miami has the second highest number of subsidized policies, with over 47,000 out of the 366,376 policies going through the federal program. Nearly 300,000 Florida homeowners have been subjected to the hefty price increases. Under the revised Biggert-Waters Reform Act, nearly 50,000 second home owners in Florida will see a 25% price increase per year, and over 100,000 primary homes will lose their subsidies if they sell their homes.
Greenberg Stone and Urbano: South Florida Homeowners Insurance Attorneys Who Fight for the Coverage You Deserve
A home is one of the most expensive purchases that a person can make. In addition to the fact that insurance is a required component of obtaining and keeping a home mortgage, it also is the safety net for any repairs or rebuilds that might be necessary after a devastating event. When a claim is denied, a homeowner may feel that he has nowhere to turn, but the skilled homeowners’ insurance attorneys at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 120 years of combined experience in getting justice for homeowners. Our dedication to our clients has led to an “AV” rating from Martindale Hubbell, and it is why we have been asked to join Primerus, an international society of leading law firms. Moreover, the Miami Herald voted us as one of the top-rated South Florida law firm, and, we have earned the title of “Superlawyers,” designating us as being among the best lawyers in America. We want to put this dedication to work for you, so call us at (888) 499-9700 or (305) 595-2400 or visit our website to schedule an initial consultation.