David Jolly files first bill in Congress, tweaking flood insurance reforms

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In one of his first acts in Congress, newly elected U.S. Rep. David Jolly introduced legislation to tweak recent reforms in the federal flood insurance program, extending relief to business properties and owner-occupied second homes.

The bill will ensure that the owners of these types of properties receive the same relief now provided to other residential properties and single-family homes. 

Co-sponsored by fellow Reps. Gus Bilirakis and Kathy Castor, Jolly’s Flood Insurance Premium Parity Act (FIPPA) would resolve the unequal treatment of these properties under the Biggert-Waters Act, which attempted to reform the National Flood Insurance Program and close a $24 billion budget gap.

If passed, commercial properties and second homes purchased after Biggert-Waters will have the same access to affordable flood insurance by repealing the requirement that they be automatically charged the revised “actuarially sound rates.”

The measure would also restore grandfathered flood insurance premium rates for commercial properties and second homes, in addition to applying the same rate increase formulas as other residential properties.

“This is the first piece of legislation that I introduced because the affordability of flood insurance is critical to the Pinellas County economy,” Jolly said in a statement issued today. 

Jolly introduced the bill after a meeting yesterday with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. The two discussed the unique needs of Florida and Pinellas County under the program. 

“Soaring flood insurance rates on commercial properties could cripple our economy, slowing business and job growth by dramatically increasing costs to small business owners and their customers,” Jolly said.

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.