FIRM has been busy fighting on both the windstorm and flood fronts lately.

On March 14 FIRM President Mel Montagne and Treasurer Joe Walsh testified at the Citizens Rate Hearing before Florida’s Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier opposing Citizen’s proposed rate increase. Besides the fact that Monroe County has paid Citizens $805 million in premiums over claims since 2004, Citizens has not completed the evaluation to include local building codes in the catastrophe models as ordered by Commissioner Altmaier in his 2007 rate order, which froze the rates for Monroe.

Last week Montagne, Board Secretary Theresa Faber, and Director Erica Poole traveled to Tallahassee for Florida Keys Day. Along with Commissioner Heather Carruthers and Monroe Co. Legislative Director Lisa Tennyson, also a FIRM Board member, the group met one on one with Commissioner Altmaier asking him to deny Citizens rate increase, to reach out to Governor De Santis to appoint a structural engineer to the Florida Commission on Hurricane Loss and Projection Methodology as required since 2016, and to update him on the status of acquiring data for the mitigation form that accounts for Monroe County’s strict building code.

Also last week Montagne, along with FIRM Vice President Steve Russ and City of Key West FEMA Coordinator Scott Fraser, spoke before the Key West City Commission to outline the potential implications the FEMA flood maps may have on the City of Key West. FIRM has contracted with a consultant to begin analyzing FEMA’s data so far to prepare for a possible appeal.

Today, Walsh and lobbyists Jerry Paul and Rosanna Catalano of Capitol Access, are attending the Florida Senate Banking & Insurance Committee hearing where Sen. Anitere Flores’ bill will be discussed. Sen. Flores’ bill asks for a reduction in Citizens’ glide path for counties that have at least 25% of county land designated as an area of critical state concern. Walsh is testifying, and the hearing will be live-streamed on the Florida Channel beginning at 4 pm today, March 25. It will also be recorded and available on the Florida Senate’s website.

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