Biggert Waters Act of 2012 – Unfairly Targeting St. Petersburg Homeowners

St. Petersburg property owners have paid eight times more money into the National Flood program than they have gotten back to cover losses — $480 million paid in versus $55 million received, records show. Statewide, Floridians have paid $4 into the program for every $1 returned. It seems like Floridians are actually due a refund.

Yet thousands of homeowners in Florida face huge premium increases because of the Biggert-Waters act, which phases out insurance subsidies for homes built before the federal government began requiring tougher construction standards in flood zones. Most homeowners will see premiums jump as much as 20 percent a year over the next five years, while subsidies will end immediately when homes are sold or policies lapse.

A bipartisan group in the U.S. House and Senate has agreed on a measure to delay the increases for four years. If Congress fails to act, flood insurance premiums could soar to $10,000 a year or more. Eliminating the subsidies has been sold to congress, as an effort to make homeowners pay their fair share. However Floridians have already been more than paying their fair share, and deserve a rate reduction if anything due to their over payments into the program (see below).

Here are the places that have had the most paid flood claims from 1978 to June 2013, and the figures for St. Petersburg.

Govt. unit

Claims

$$ received

New Orleans

102,051

$7.2 billion

Jefferson Parish, La.

75,529

$2.7 billion

Houston

36,569

$1 billion

New York City

34,665

$1.1 billion

St. Bernard Parish, La.

21,712

$2.3 billion

Town of Hempstead, N.Y.

18,111

$860 million

Miami-Dade

17,481

$273 million

St. Tammany Parish, La.

16,239

$1.1 billion

Galveston County, Texas

14,070

$580 million

Galveston City, Texas

13,971

$752 million

St. Petersburg

4,523

$55 million

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency

One great big fact that those wise members of congress failed to take into account is the gigantic loss in real property value that would be felt by homeowners.  If your flood premium is $2000, and you sell your house (or attempt to sell your house) the new owners could face a flood insurance premium of $20,000.  Imaging what that will do to real estate sales?   Those affected will not be able to sell their homes under any circumstances and stand to loose the entire equity in their home.  If you own a waterfront home valued at $900,000 (typical) you could stand to loose close to a million dollars as a homeowner.  This is a very draconian and disproportionate effect, not anticipated by Biggert Waters, but nevertheless a real outcome.

For more information or a free consultation on your legal issue contact The Law Offices of Charles D. Scott PLLC, your injury law and family law attorneys, at 727-300-4878. http://www.yourstpetelawyers.com

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