Flood Insurance Compromise Needed to Stabilize Real Estate Market

Mar 5, 2014

Tuesday night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would repeal portions of the Biggert-Waters Act after hearing from numerous homeowners about soaring flood insurance rates.

Credit SumterCountyFL.gov

But, Congress must now reconcile differences between the house and senate bills. Both take different routes to offering some homeowners relief for soaring flood insurance premiums. Those insurance premium increases are part of the reforms aimed at shoring up the National Flood Insurance Program that is financially in a hole.

But, Pinellas County property owners need a quick resolution to the different federal bills according to Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce CEO Robin Sollie.

Sollie is calling on Congress for an immediate delay of flood insurance rate hikes.

"That needs to address a delay for all property owners, second homeowners, commercial property owners and new homeowners, people who have saved or they're retirees who have purchased or going to purchase and don't have the fear that once they close on that property, their insurance rate is going to go up five-times the amount they were quoted, " Sollie said.

In addition, she said long-range reform of the flood insurance program is needed to stabilize the real estate market.

"Right now, the fear has set in for those people who are shopping or needing to sell and they’re not able to even show the property because it’s an unknown of what the flood premium will be," Sollie said.

The senate bill calls for a four-year delay on insurance rate increases. The house bill would immediately restore of insurance subsidies for some homeowners and limit rate increases.

The house bill also increases funding to study the affordability of flood insurance rate hikes. Sollie said the compromise legislation should put a time limit on that study so it's done quickly.