That is apparently what the Congress intended when they overwhelmingly passed the 2012 Biggert-Waters act. This misleading and poorly thought out piece of legislation will completely devastate the Florida Real Estate Market and make most waterfront homes worthless, and price most right out of their home, and foreclosures will soar in Florida. This new law and the resulting change in flood insurance costs could cost some individual homeowners millions of dollars when their heretofore million dollar water front home becomes worthless because it cannot be sold for any price.

Biggert-Waters was promoted as a way to help keep the National Flood Insurance Program afloat after suffering huge losses from Hurricane Katrina. Key to the make over was getting rid of what FEMA consider to be subsidized rates, in some cases gradually and in other cases — like the sale of a home — in one fell swoop.

Most flood policyholders nationwide will see only single-digit increases in rates next year. In fact, nationally only 20 percent of all flood policies are subsidized. But in Florida, the impact will be much greater. With 40 percent of all flood policies nationwide, Florida has by far the most subsidized homes. More than 50,000 of Pinellas County's 142,000 properties with flood policies have subsidized flood rates, more than any other county nationwide.

The buyer of a subsidized property will have to pay the full risk rate for any policy issued or renewed on or after Oct. 1. That could more than triple the rates immediately. If you bought a subsidized property after the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act became law a year ago, you could have to pay the full risk rate for a policy renewal starting in October. A premium that was $3000 could now be $20,000. This rate increase will surely deter anyone considering purchasing an affected home in Florida.

Has this changed sales contracts?

The Florida Board of Realtors recently changed its standard sales contract to let buyers know they may need to get a flood certification to obtain flood insurance. New contract language makes a buyer's offer contingent on obtaining flood coverage by a certain date at a price not to exceed a cap that is written into the contract. Moreover, the buyer and seller have to agree on when the contract can be terminated if the property is ineligible for flood insurance.

Have banks adapted as well?

All mortgage lenders have greater financial incentive to make sure that homes in flood zones carry the required coverage. Previously, the government imposed a fine of $350 per loan that did not have the required policy in place. That rose to $2,000 per loan under the new law. A total fine cap of $100,000 per lender was removed so now there is no cap.


Florida didn't trigger the financial crisis within the National Flood Insurance Program. Of the nation’s top 10 flood-claim events since 1978, only one, Hurricane Ivan, caused heavy damage in Florida.

In fact, over the past 35 years, Florida's property owners have helped prop up the program, paying four times more than what they have gotten back in claims.

In the history of the flood program, Florida property owners have paid $16.1 billion in premiums while collecting just $3.7 billion in claims, according to a 2011 analysis by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Center for Risk Management and Decision Processes.

Contrast that with Louisiana, which paid $4.4 billion in premiums but collected almost four times that in claims, the vast majority tied to Hurricane Katrina.

Since 1978, Texas ($5.5 billion), New Jersey ($4.8 billion) and New York ($4.4 billion) have also received more payouts than Florida, while paying far less in premiums. And those numbers predate last year's Superstorm Sandy, which caused billions more in flood damage in the Northeast.

And year after year, Florida ponies up a third of all premiums into the program.

"Flood in Florida is a moneymaker" for the government. The payback for all that financial help: About 270,000 Florida properties could face huge flood insurance rate hikes. That's three times more than the next most-affected state, New Jersey.

The bull's-eye is on Pinellas County, which leads all counties across the nation with almost 51,000 affected properties, roughly an eighth of its homes and businesses.

Most Floridians are unaware of what's about to hit them, a lot of people here think this doesn't pertain to them — that it's a New Jersey situation from (Hurricane) Sandy or a Louisiana issue due to (Hurricane) Katrina.

First hit are investor-owned properties losing their subsidies. They face increases of 25 percent a year for multiple years until their rates reflect the "full rate risk" of flooding.

Owners of older homes in low lying areas could face rate increases of up to 20 percent a year after their communities adopt new flood insurance rate maps as part of the program overhaul. Rate hikes used to be capped at 10 percent.

If a house or business is sold, the rate increases could be even more stunning. Anyone who has bought a rate-subsidized property after the new flood law was signed July 6, 2012, will have to pay the full rate for coverage after Oct. 1. That could be more than triple the price paid by the previous owner.

Pinellas County has more than 24,000 properties facing that kind of rate shock if they sell. Pinellas is No. 1 in the nation in that category, too. $3,000 premiums that will jump to $12,000 for policies renewed after October; or $9,000 premiums soaring to $22,000.

Elsewhere in Tampa Bay, 14,484 Hillsborough County properties could lose their subsidized rates over time. In Pasco, the number is 11,413; in Hernando, 1,044; in Citrus, 2,882.

Among the many misconceptions about Biggert-Waters is that it mainly affects beachfront property owners. To the contrary, many of the subsidized properties are inland in Pinellas and Hillsborough County.


There are several measures being discussed in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to stave off "unintended consequences" of Biggert-Waters. But so far the sole measure that has passed the House would only delay a small part of the law — and not stop the premium hikes from hitting new buyers of subsidized properties.

Click the link below to sign a petition against Biggert-Waters. 


Also Write to your congressman and tell them to reverse Biggert Waters before all Florida Real Estate becomes worthless. If you live in Pinellas County write to your congressman and let them know how much the biggert waters act may end up costing the citizens of Florida. Here are the names and addresses of a couple you may want to write to. If you live outside Pinellas County, look up your Congressman and write to them too.

Gus Bilirakis

7132 Little Road

New Port Richey, FL 34654

Ph: 727-232-2921 .


Bill Young

9210 113th Street Seminole, FL 33772

Phone: (727) 392-4100


Kathy Castor

4144 N Armenia Ave

Suite 300

Tampa, FL 33607

Phone: (813)871-2817


Dennis Ross

170 Fitzgerald Road, St 1

Lakeland, FL 33813

Phone: (863) 644-8215


Marco Rubio

3802 Spectrum Boulevard

Suite 106

Tampa, FL 33612

Phone: (813) 977-6450


Bill Nelson

Sam Gibbons Federal Court House

801 N. Florida Ave., 4th Floor

Tampa, FL 33602

Phone: 813-225-7040


To see more on the Biggert Waters act of 2012 click on the following link:


biggert waters, flood insurance, flood insurance rates, florida flood insurance, florida real estate, florida real property

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