The flood insurance requirement for Citizens windstorm policyholders continues to be a hardship for Monroe County residents.

What is the flood insurance requirement?

Citizens policyholders must secure and maintain flood insurance regardless of whether they are in areas prone to inundation, elevated, or do not have a Federally backed mortgage.

This policy was part of the legislation that was enacted during the December 2022 Special Session. In the current legislative session, language has been included in the property insurance bill to exempt condo-owners from this onerous requirement.

What is FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 methodology?

Risk Rating 2.0 (RR2.0) is a rating methodology that FEMA introduced beginning in October 2021 for new policies and April 2022 for renewing policies. The methodology relies on a set of standards such as a building’s proximity to water, construction, and building use to determine the flood insurance premium instead of relying on flood maps.

The methodology lacks transparency, and FIRM, along with others including members of Congress, have repeatedly demanded answers to how these rates were determined.

A perfect storm

RR2.0 rates are significantly higher than rates under the original, or legacy, method. The Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance has compiled a list of the 25 counties in the United States most impacted by the steep rate increases:  Monroe County is 4th in the nation for highest rates with a 162.7% increase. In CSFI’s list of the top 25 zip codes with the highest rates, 2 are in Monroe County.

Ninety percent of windstorm policies in Monroe County are with Citizens–it is the insurer of last resort. Monroe County residents do not have the option to switch to a different carrier to avoid the flood insurance requirement.

And since many of the policyholders affected were not previously required by FEMA to carry flood policies, they would be getting new policies at full risk rating.  Homes that are elevated 10+ feet above base flood elevation could see flood insurance premiums over $5,000 for insurance on which they will never file a claim.

What can you do?

FIRM is vehemently opposed to the flood insurance requirement and has pushed for its repeal during this regular legislative session. Many of you have reached out to Rep. Mooney and Sen. Rodriguez expressing your opposition as well.  In these last days of the session they still need to hear from you.

We also encourage our members to contact the office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter. The ICA’s mission is to protect Floridians from questionable and unfair insurance practices.

The flood insurance requirement is placing an incredible financial burden on our community. As a result we are seeing people in our community dropping all insurance coverage and making food on the table or insurance payment decisions. Recovery following a storm is a second disaster for residents who have had no choice but to drop their insurance.

Contact them today:

Jim Mooney – Mooney, Jim Jim.Mooney@myfloridahouse.gov

Ana Maria Rodriguez – Rodriguez.anamaria@flsenate.gov

Insurance Consumer Advocate – YourFLVoice@MyFloridaCFO.com

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