Flood insurance fix still on hold for Tampa Bay area homeowners - WFLA News Channel 8

Flood insurance fix still on hold for Tampa Bay area homeowners

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The Biggert-Waters Act removes federal subsidies from flood insurance rates. Because of the change, some homeowners near the water are seeing drastic increases in their flood insurance premium rates. The Biggert-Waters Act removes federal subsidies from flood insurance rates. Because of the change, some homeowners near the water are seeing drastic increases in their flood insurance premium rates.
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL - Waterfront homeowners in the Tampa Bay area are in a holding pattern as Congress recessed for the holidays without coming to an agreement about a 4-year delay for the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act. 

The Biggert-Waters Act removes federal subsidies from flood insurance rates. Because of the change, some homeowners near the water are seeing drastic increases in their flood insurance premium rates.

Related: Homeowners fear 'nightmare' from flood insurance increases

 
Joe Ferrel, who is a political advocate for the Pinellas Realtor Organization, said he hopes that Congress will take action after the holidays.
 
Florida is one of many states that want flood rate increases delayed. Florida and several other states have joined a lawsuit filed by Mississippi against the federal government. The lawsuit calls for an injunction on flood rate increases until FEMA completes its affordability study.

Read more about the Biggert-Waters Act and see flood zone maps on FloodSmart.gov

"What we need is a long term fix. We need to get private companies involved in offering coverage to create competition," said Ferrel.

The uncertainty is also affecting the real estate market in some Pinellas waterfront communities.

"This has created the market to become stagnant again.. and we're not really sure what it's doing to the prices because it's still being gathered, but we have a feeling when that data is released we're going to see the value of homes in this area are going down," said Dennis Fagan, Century 21 real estate agent in Treasure Island.

It's even affecting some homes not impacted by the premium increases.

Karen Hogan thought she would sell her 3000-square-foot home on Treasure Island quickly.  It's elevated 16-feet above sea level and is not impacted by the premium increases.  Her flood insurance is less than $300 a year. But she hasn't had many interested buyers.

"Because people are so concerned about how much flood insurance might be, no one is looking. We can't get anybody to come in the door," said Hogan.

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