By: Mike Vasilinda
October 10, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - Florida is joining Mississippi in its lawsuit to stop dramatic increases in the cost of Flood insurance. The suit argues the increases, which can be as much as three thousand percent, are based on incomplete information.
Notices started arriving in mailboxes this summer. Flood insurance was going to be more expensive, much more expensive. Mississippi filed suit in late September, contending massive rate hikes were based on yet to be complete studies that are required by the 2012 law. On Thursday, Florida joined the lawsuit. “They didn’t do their job, they were supposed to do a study, they didn’t do that,” says Rick Scott, Governor.
More than two million Floridians buy flood insurance. Most are required to carry it by their bank. About two in ten policy holders are facing the biggest increases, which could result in their lender seeking significantly higher monthly payments. CFO Jeff Atwater calls it a recipe for disaster. “Unless something is done soon, there is a greater likelihood that a Floridian will lose their home financially to the cost of the act rather than the cost of a flood,” says Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer.
While Florida is only filed a friend of the court brief, officials are hoping it will put pressure on congress to make changes quickly.
Attorney General Pam Bondi says the state is keeping all of its options open. “All I’m going to say now, we are looking at any possible recourse. We feel now the proper move is to join in an amicus brief with Mississippi, let’s see how that plays out,” says Pam Bondi, Attorney General.
Both Bondi and the Governor are calling on President Obama to delay the hikes, something Federal Emergency Officials who manage the program say can only be delayed by Congress.