Senate backs Brandes’ flood insurance fix

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With no discussion, the Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved a plan (SB 542) that seeks to bolster a private flood-insurance market in the state, reports the News Service of Florida.

Lawmakers scrambled to address the issue this year after tens of thousands of Florida homeowners were threatened by massive rate increases under the National Flood Insurance Program. While Congress has taken steps to alleviate those concerns, the state Senate bill seeks to encourage the growth of the private market.

As an example, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes would allow private insurers to develop flood-insurance rates without being subject to the state’s usual rate-review process.

“The bill emphasizes consumer choice and will let us control our own destiny in this critical market,” Brandes said in a prepared statement after the Senate vote.

A House version (HB 879) has been approved by two committees, though it includes differences from the Senate bill on rate issues.