As 2019 draws to a close, FIRM invites you to join us in reviewing our accomplishments — made possible by our generous supporters and members. Your year-end contribution helps ensure we can pursue our 2020 mission and goals.

FIRM was founded in February 2006 when a group of neighbors met to compare notes on why their windstorm insurance had increased so dramatically–in some cases tripled–following the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. About a week later at a community meeting FIRM defined its goals to address the statewide imbalance of rates, stop a proposed increase for 2006, and roll back rates.

FIRM was successful in reaching all three goals and more. Without FIRM, it is likely that every policyholder in the Keys would be paying at least twice as much every year for windstorm insurance. FIRM’s work has helped keep over $60 million a year in the Keys economy and has enabled premium savings for Monroe County residents of over a half a billion dollars since 2006.

Since 2017 Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier has denied Citizens proposed residential windstorm rate increase for Monroe County based on FIRM’s assertions, particularly those about the strength of our building code, saving policyholders an additional $4 million per year.

In 2012 following the disastrous unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Act to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, FIRM turned its attention to flood insurance. FIRM joined with federal, state, and local government to support the passage of the HFIAA (Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act) in 2014.

At the end of 2019, FEMA will submit preliminary flood maps to Monroe County and the municipalities that, in some cases, will have significant impact on the cost of flood insurance for residents. FIRM has hired a consultant to review FEMA’s data to determine if an appeal of the flood maps is necessary, and if so will begin the heavy lift of raising funds to pay for the appeal

FIRM has accomplished these goals with a volunteer Board of Directors, one or two paid staff members, and county-wide support from local government, industries–especially the real estate industry, and individuals who have believed in and supported FIRM’s mission for nearly fourteen years.

Looking forward into the next decade, FIRM will continue working with local government to address the need for adaptation and resiliency in the wake of rising seas and more intense storms. FIRM looks to increase advocacy and outreach throughout Monroe County in order to help residents protect their families and property and to contribute to housing affordability by keeping insurance costs down and property values up.

At the end of the next decade as now, FIRM– nearly a quarter of a century old by then–will look back at the accomplishments of the previous decades and forward into the next with the generosity and support of the community firmly in place.

As you consider your year-end giving, please think of FIRM. It’s possible that if not for FIRM’s tireless efforts, many more of us would have been forced to leave Monroe County. A contribution to FIRM is a way to show your commitment to the incredible community we all call home.

You can target your donation to FIRMKeys, a 501(c) (3) community service provider that conducts research and provides information, guidance, and assistance on property insurance and storm related topics such as mitigation to the Monroe County community.

You can give a donation to FIRM PAC, a 501(c) (4) political advocacy group that seeks to influence government and industry policy affecting property insurance rates and availability in Monroe County. For a limited time, your $100 donation to FIRMPAC will enter you into our Mardi Gras Fundraiser raffle with agrand prize 4-night luxury accommodations for four in New Orleans! (transportation not included)

Or you can sign up to be a member at no cost at all. FIRM believes there is strength in numbers, and every kind of contribution is valuable.

FIRM thanks the individuals and organizations that have contributed to its success and longevity. We hope that you will continue to support our efforts on behalf of every resident of Monroe County.

Best wishes from FIRM to all of you for a healthy and prosperous 2020.

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