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Politics

Flood Insurance: Gov. Scott's Letter to the New York Times

March 3, 2014 - 6:00pm

Your editorial "Flooding Capitol Hill" (Feb. 26) addresses the important issue of flood insurance, the National Flood Insurance Program and the current reform legislation in Congress.

As someone who believes in accountability to taxpayers, I too, want a sound flood insurance program, but I also want a program that is fair to Florida families.

Florida homeowners have paid $16 billion, which is nearly four times what we have received in claim payments from the National Flood Insurance Program since 1978. We have paid in far more than our fair share, and it's simply unreasonable to ask Florida families to support the costs brought on by disasters in other states.

Pinellas County is ground zero in Florida as being the most affected by the rate hikes imposed by the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. The median household income for Pinellas County is $46,051 (2012). That's below our nation's median household income of $53,046, and even below Florida's median household income. So those affected aren't all "beachside mansion owners." Furthermore, the maximum limit for a home covered by the NFIP is $350,000 ($250,000 for dwelling coverage -- $100,000 for contents coverage).

As a result of this flawed law, Floridians are facing steep increases in their flood-insurance premiums, like Rangel Dockery whose premium will skyrocket from $2,000 each year to $14,000 if there is no delay or change in the current law.

This week I asked the president to use his pen to immediately delay these hikes, and while the legislation currently in Congress isn't perfect, it's a good first step to a solution. The uncertainty that looms over Florida's homeowners and real-estate market has become an overwhelming burden that must be addressed.

Gov. Rick Scott

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