Flood insurance: financial 'missiles' about to land - FOX 13 News

Flood insurance: financial 'missiles' about to land

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If the incredible increases in flood insurance rates are thought of as missiles, they were launched in July 2012.

A few have already made impact; the rest start hitting targets October 1st.

Avoidable?

"No, not by Tuesday," Wright Flood chief operating officer Patricia Templeton-Jones told FOX 13 News.

"Yeah, I don't know that we're going to get it stopped in a week," conceded Amy Seeks, chairperson of the Pinellas Realtor Organization.

Last summer, Congress renewed the National Flood Insurance Program and mandated risk-rated premiums by October 1, 2013. At the time, there was general agreement that the program should pay its own way, but there were no numbers on how that concept translated into reality.

"The major change [is] happening October 1," Templeton-Jones explained. "Our programmers and business analysts and all of the business people that are involved with this have been working on this for several months."

A Congressional decision to hit the pause button could take as long.

"Traditionally, what happens with that is FEMA [the agency overseeing the NFIP], they go through it with their staff and their office of general counsel to see how they interpret what Congress has mandated. That's a whole piece there. And then they provide to us how this is going to be handled," Templeton-Jones said.

Several times, she said there is no way to tell how long that might take.

"It all depends on what are they going to do, and that is the big unknown," she added.

In the past two weeks, most of Florida's Congressional delegation has agreed the new flood insurance rates need more study. Senator Bill Nelson intended to place a moratorium in the "continuing resolution" that will extend funding of the entire federal government after October 1st.

As in recent years, the continuing resolution is contentious.

"There's so much going on in Washington right now with health care reform and the issues around that...that it is a concern for us as Floridians that this issue with regard to national flood insurance is going to get put on the sidelines," Seeks said.

A lot of entities would be involved with stopping the flood insurance premium missiles before they strike: Both Houses of Congress, the President, the Department of Homeland Security, which runs FEMA, which runs the NFIP, then companies such as Wright Flood. Each has its own internal processes for carrying out any new Congressional mandate.

As Templeton-Jones said, not by Tuesday.

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