Jeff Brandes’ private flood insurance bill heads to Senate floor

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Florida’s private flood insurance marketplace is one step closer to reality.

Senate Banking and Insurance unanimously approved SB 542, filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, the final committee before it hits the full Senate chamber.

The bill establishes a competitive, private market alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program, which faced massive premium spikes because of reforms set by the Biggert-Waters Act enacted by Congress in 2012.

“The flawed policy in the Biggert-Waters Act proves that we cannot rely on Congress to dictate the future of affordable flood insurance,” Brandes said in a statement released Tuesday. “This bill brings Florida one step closer to controlling its own destiny and charting a course toward a private market solution.”

Brandes’ proposal provides the flexibility for policyholders to accept coverage levels of their choice on properties and adjust deductibles as a way to customize their policies. Additionally, the legislation sets up consumer protections, as well as a review by the Office of Insurance Regulation to ensure that the new private flood insurance market is fair.

The Florida House is also considering two separate flood insurance bills — both still in committee — that seek to create a private market alternative to the NFIP.

The next stop for SB 542 is full Senate consideration.

Information on SB542, including the full text, is available at www.flsenate.gov.  

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.