Jeff Brandes: Florida serves as ‘donor state’ to subsidized flood insurance program

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Calling Florida “a donor state” to the National Flood Insurance Program, Sen. Jeff Brandes is urging Florida’s congressional delegation to support a one-year delay on rate increases for policy holders.

In a Sept. 27 letter, Brandes warns of the “disastrous impact” to homeowners and the real estate industry from changes to the nationally subsidized flood insurance program.

Pinellas County has more policy holders than any other U.S. county, with Hillsborough not that far behind. The changes are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.

Brandes writes that Florida has served as a “donor state,” helping to support the 45-year-old National Florida Insurance Program. He said that for every $4 Florida policy holders have paid out in premiums, they have collected only $1 from claims.

Yet he suggested that Florida policy holders are being penalized by a spike in insurance rates, especially those in high-risk areas.

“The impact on existing property owners in a floodplain is catastrophic, and their ability to both maintain coverage and sell their property will be greatly diminished,” Brandes wrote. “Similar impacts will be seen throughout the state, potentially crippling our recovering real-estate market.”