While the property insurance crisis in Florida continues to trouble policyholders throughout the state, in 2023 FIRM took steps on behalf of the residents of Monroe County to strengthen important relationships, collaborate on meaningful legislation, and develop an upgraded website that offers greater access to information.

MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2023

  • Worked with The Southern Group, FIRM’s contracted lobbyists to remove the flood insurance requirement for Citizens condominium policies.
  • Advocated, promoted and pushed for a Monroe County representative on the Citizens Board of Governors. Key West attorney and developer Robert Spottswood Sr. was named to the Board in December.
  • Supported the Monroe County FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Program serving as a resource to direct participants to contractors who have agreed to assist with the project estimation and completion.
  • Continued the partnership begun in 2020 with the City of Key West, Monroe County and the Monroe County Extension Services for a Keyswide Home Elevation Education Project (KHEEP). https://firmkeys.org/keyswide-home-elevation-education-project/
  • FIRM Board members serve on the Community Rating System (CRS) Program for Public Information (PPI) committee. To date, the County has saved approximately $16.5 million that will now increase by $7.5 million annually if the County continues to maintain program and regulatory status.
  • Provided support through the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance (CSFI) to the Louisiana Attorney General’s lawsuit against FEMA over its Risk Rating 2.0 methodology. Florida is one of ten states to join the lawsuit.
  • Continued relationships with all three Monroe County Realtor® associations to keep our Realtor® partners updated on windstorm and flood insurance issues.
  • Updated the Monroe County Property Insurance Users Guide to reflect the changes in FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0, statutory changes enacted by the Florida Legislature and links to the My Safe Florida Home Program and Monroe County’s FMA Grant Program.
  • Hosted a delegation from Citizens Property Insurance on site visits and stakeholder meetings from the Upper Keys to Key West. The visit familiarized Citizens’ newly appointed CEO with the building characteristics and methods in Monroe County.
  • Hosted Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter on site visits and stakeholders meetings that focused on Monroe County’s affordable and workforce housing projects and challenges.
  • Worked with staff of the three Habitat for Humanity branches in Monroe County to connect with resources and personnel to create carve-outs and/or credits that will allow them to continue to provide safe and affordable housing for their residents.
  • Collaborated and helped to draft with Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, Rep. Jim Mooney and the Monroe County legislative team to file two bills addressing Monroe County’s most pressing windstorm insurance concerns.
  • Developed an all-new website that offers users a more comprehensive and streamlined experience. The new design seamlessly links related topics in a user-friendly format designed to help visitors easily find the information they need.

OTHER WINDSTORM INSURANCE ACTIVITIES/ACCOMPLISHMENTS

FIRM officers and/or its representatives attended virtually and in person and/or testified at:

  • Florida Keys Day
    • Citizens Rate Hearing in MarchCitizens Board of Governors Meetings in June, September, and DecemberMonroe County Delegation meetingFlorida Realtors District 4 ConferenceFlorida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology (FCHLPM)Great American Realtors Days in Tallahassee
    • Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund Workshop

FIRM Officers and/or representatives met with

  • Congressmen Carlos Gimenez, Jared Moskowitz, and Mario Diaz-Ballart
  • Sen. Rick Scott’s staff
  • FEMA representatives in Washington DCFlorida State Rep. Robert Rommel
  • Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky

FIRM submitted documentation to Citizens Actuary Peggy Cheng, who also sits on the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss Projection Methodology (FCHLPM) suggesting the models be re-run with actual storm data to assign a “confidence rating” based on the accuracy of their projections.

FIRM continued efforts to develop and seek approval for revised windstorm insurance mitigation forms that would correctly recognize Monroe County building codes and provide for associated windstorm premium credits. The revised form has been submitted to Consumer Advocate Tasha Carter, Citizens CEO Tim Cerio and Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky.

OTHER FLOOD INSURANCE ACTIVITIES/ACCOMPLISHMENTS

FIRM’S efforts in support of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization and modification include:

  • Membership in the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance (CSFI), a national coalition of approximately 250 organizations across 35 states, focused on advocating for a stronger policy framework for the NFIP.
  • Lobbying Members of Congress for Reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program with meaningful reforms including affordability, mitigation funding, program expansion, transparent rate structure, reduced program costs, and support for resilient communities.
  • Supporting and working with Monroe County staff on reauthorization of the NFIP.Attending National Association of Realtors Legislative Meetings in Washington DC.
  • Publicizing the issues surrounding reauthorization of the NFIP.

FIRM PLANS FOR 2024

  • Increase the Citizens coverage limit for Monroe County, restore the 10% rate cap to Monroe County, remove the requirement for flood insurance for properties located in X Zones or elevated at least 1’-0” above base flood elevation, and remove the requirement that flood insurance match the windstorm insurance contents coverage.
  • Build on our relationships with Florida’s Insurance Commissioner and staff, the CEO of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and the Insurance Consumer Advocate’s office.
  • Host Commissioner Yaworsky and staff from the Office of Insurance Regulation on a site visit to Monroe County.Continue to work with Members of Congress and organizations around the country to press for transparency, mitigation credits and affordability of FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0.Inform the community of the new requirements for receiving CRS credits.
  • Work with state lawmakers Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Rep. Jim Mooney as they represent Monroe County issues related to property insurance.Build relationships with Florida lawmakers and policymakers outside of Monroe County to help them understand our challenges.
  • Work with members of Congress on FIRM’s NFIP reauthorization priorities and FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0.Work with the Office of Insurance Regulation to develop a Monroe County specific hurricane model run and to incorporate Monroe County specific modifications to the Uniform Mitigation Verification Inspection form).
  • Continue to participate with partners in the Keyswide Home Elevation Education Project to assist residents with FEMA grant funding and to increase contractor participation.
  • Continue to look for alternatives to Citizens Property Insurance.

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