TALLAHASSEE, Fla. After ranging for two months over how much flood coverage a Florida homeowner should be forced to buy under policies authorized by the state, the battle is over.
Florida homeowners who faced double and even triple digit increases in National Flood Insurance premiums may soon be able to buy a policy from a Florida insurers.
With the legislative session set to end Friday, the State House took up its bill requiring homeowners to cover the full replacement cost of their home.
"And it invites the market to come in and take care of Floridians at a rate that is going to be less." Insurance Agent and State Representative Kevin Rader said be careful what you wish for. "I would greatly encourage you..."
Under Florida law, Rep. Rader says, if a Florida company can’t pay its claims, everyone in the state could be on the hook for decades. "Enormous, for every policy holder in the state of Florida. It could be 50 to 100 dollars per policy."
After passing by a wide margin, "98 yeas, 11 nays" the bill went to the Senate which wanted policyholders to only have to buy enough insurance to cover their unpaid mortgage. They're now backing down.
Sen. Jeff Brandes of St Petersburg told the senate, "I still believe that we should offer more flexibility but the offer is on the table that we could take right now."
In the end, bankers say it doesn't matter what coverage amounts the state requires, lenders will have the final say.
The legislation takes effect July first, and if it makes it past the Governor, lower cost policies could be available this summer.
It's widely believed insurers will be able to sell policies for less because Florida sends $3.66 to Washington for every dollar in claims it gets back.