I’m going to do something a little different. This is going be an update on flood insurance legislation. I usually do not read; however, this is so comprehensive or has a long list of items, I have to refer to a report that I have, so you have to pardon me if I read this, but sort of give you an update, I think it’s timely as to where we are as far as flood insurance is concerned. Here are some of the highlights. It caps the annual flood insurance increases to 18 percent for properties built after 1975 and if you went ahead and had to pay an outrageous premium before 1975, you can see about applying for a refund.
There is grandfathering, which is reinstating, which means if you built your house, or the house was built pursuant to the FEMA guidelines, well then it’s grandfathered in and you’ll keep getting the same flood insurance premium. The grandfathering now stays with the property, so that if you sell the property, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have a new, that it triggers any change, so even if you sell the property, the flood insurance rating or whatever stays the same. Residential policy holders will incur a $50.00 surcharge annually and for businesses and second homes, the surcharge is $250.00. Next, FEMA will strive to reach a goal where the premium is no greater than one percent of the coverage of the property. So, if you had a $200,000.00 house, then your premium, they’re trying to keep it at $2,000.00. They have gone back under the Act now that the substantial improvement issue, you’re up to 50 percent guideline under the Act, they were rolling that back to 35 percent, but now it’s 50 percent. The established ombudsman under flood insurance or someone you can contact to try and answer your questions about that, unfortunately, I don’t have the number or how to get in touch with them and I don’t even know if that’s been established yet or not. They also are going to make arrangements so flood insurance can be paid in monthly payments and if you appeal your flood designation to FEMA and you win, well, FEMA will reimburse your premium. They are trying to set up a regulatory framework that’ll encourage other insurers to come in and write flood insurance and this will be basically for residential coverages, this won’t be for, apply to second homes or commercial properties.
They also changed what they mean by flood and then they have different types of coverages that you can obtain. You can get a standard coverage, a preferred coverage, a customized coverage and a supplemental coverage. I’m not gonna go through what all each one of these coverages are, it’s enough to know that you can see about getting your coverages customized and you can see how much the premium difference there is. It allows surplus lines agent to send the contract out for endorsement for surplus lined companies without making a diligent effort to find coverage with the primary insurer. It prohibits state-created increases for hurricanes under the hurricane fund. I’m not sure just what they mean by that.
Allows Florida Insurance Commissioner to provide for any federally required certifications and the bill is effective upon becoming law. Hopefully that gives you enough to know that there have been some changes. I suggest that if you have questions, hopefully your insurance agent is aware of all these changes, so if you speak to them, they will be able to bring you up to date as to what effect of your coverage’s. If you want some of this material or whatever, if you contact me, I’ll be glad to send you a copy of this synopsis on the paper I’m reading from, which it’s a newsletter that I received from the Real Property Probate and Trust Law section of the Florida Bar.
My phone number is 727-847-2288. Thank you.