BRADENTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) met with a bipartisan group of 20 lawmakers last week to address skyrocketing flood insurance rate increases affecting homeowners and businesses nationwide.
In an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), FEMA implemented new flood insurance rates for homeowners and businesses on October 1st. Some premiums have increased by as much as 400 percent. Florida has been the hardest hit state nationwide with nearly 270,000 affected policyholders.
“At a time when Washington gridlock is at its worst, I’m encouraged by the bipartisan spirit in which my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are working together to address the devastating rate hikes and find a long-term solution,” said Buchanan, whose district has 30,000 affected properties. “The National Flood Insurance Program is vital to the economic health and prosperity of our coastal communities. To raise rates at a time when Floridians can least afford them threatens the economic recovery in Southwest Florida.”
Buchanan left the meeting encouraged by the efforts of lawmakers to enact measured reforms to the program without sacrificing the economic health of the coastal communities which rely on the NFIP. The group agreed that rate increases must be halted immediately and a long-term solution put in place that ensures the solvency of the program while protecting homeowners and businesses from abrupt, unaffordable increases in their premiums.
“While it is absolutely necessary to reform the National Flood Insurance Program to ensure its future economic solvency, it should be done in a thoughtful and balanced manner that is fair to both the taxpayers and the home and business owners who benefit and rely on it,” said Buchanan. “I’m confident Congress will act swiftly to bring affordable and accessible flood insurance back to Florida homeowners and businesses.”
Earlier this year Buchanan voted to delay the rate increases for one year so that Congress could fix the NFIP. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reports that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation says it is exploring creating a state-level alternative to the federal flood insurance program.
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