There has been a great deal of activity on Flood Insurance over the past few weeks. Pinellas Realtors have been at the forefront of the national debate on this issue and the effort appears to be paying off. According to Florida Realtors, they try to use Pinellas Realtor examples whenever they speak with any elected official about the looming crisis on flood insurance. Governor Rick Scott even joined the chorus of Florida elected leaders last week calling on Congress to delay implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. This Florida Realtor News story on the hearing in the US Senate last week contains a link to the testimony on flood insurance presented to the Senate Banking Committee by the National Association of Realtors. NAR is strongly supporting efforts to delay NFIP rate increases for grandfathered AND newly-purchased properties pending FEMA’s report to Congress on the results of the affordability study required by the “Biggert Waters” NFIP reform act. You can read more about the hearing in the US Senate Banking Committee below.
One of our short term goals is to encourage PRO members to utilize the resources in the Florida Realtors Flood Insurance Toolkit. Our members will join Florida Realtors leaders in Tallahassee this week to testify on flood insurance concerns before the Cabinet as well as testify before the Florida House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee. Please encourage anyone with a flood insurance horror story to complete and return the Questionnaire on the Flood Insurance Toolkit. These real-life examples make all the difference when lobbying the Cabinet, State Legislature, FEMA and Congress.
We had meetings with members of the Pinellas legislative delegation last week, we will have more meetings this week, and we are working with Florida Realtors to pursue several creative solutions at the state level in addition to our efforts in Washington. We will keep everyone posted on those efforts.
Back to the Congressional hearing from last Wednesday, to view the testimony of FEMA Administrator Fugate and others, you can use these links:
• Honorable William Craig Fugate [click to view testimony]
Administrator Federal Emergency Management Agency
• Ms. Alicia P. Cackley [click to view testimony]
Director, Financial Markets and Community Investment,
U.S. Government Accountability Office
• Ms. Christine Shirley [click to view testimony]
National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator, Planning Services Division, Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
• Mr. Stephen Ellis [click to view testimony]
Vice President, Taxpayers for Common Sense
• Mr. Birny Birnbaum [click to view testimony]
Executive Director, Center for Economic Justice
If we stand together we believe we can make a difference on this issue. Unfortunately, the window of opportunity with Congress is short.