I appreciate the Blue Paper’s article on the flood insurance crisis and panel discussion. The effects of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act passed by our “do nothing” Congress is sure going to do “do something” to our community. The result is the worst kind of social engineering that is endangering our way of life here in the Keys right now. Subsidized flood insurance rates are disappearing and as a result astronomical flood insurance rate increases have just begun to hit home.
Its going to be a complicated matter to do anything about however. There is a reason the law actually passed our Congress. Conservatives wanted it because it purports to keep taxes lower by removing government subsidized rates and making those with the greatest likelihood to need flood insurance pay through the nose for it. The liberal/conservationists like it because it acknowledges that climate change and rising sea levels are in fact occurring and therefore we must start abandoning expensive coastal property.
Insurance is designed to spread the risk, not penalize those who need it most. Our friends at the Army Corps of Engineers are “remapping” vast areas of Florida and many other parts of the country to include more properties in flood zone areas and to increase the risk categories (and resultant flood insurance premiums) for those already faced with heavy flood premiums by putting many in new, “riskier” brackets. Before they spread that risk to more areas however they are punitively raising the rates for those currently existing in a potential flood zone to force an immediate bail out of the NFIP on the backs of Floridians like you and I.
Read last month’s National Geographic for their dire predictions for ocean rise. You will see that they are predicting, in graphic detail, that Miami and most of Southern Florida including the Keys of course will be inundated and that our citizens will need to start abandoning this entire area of the state within 50 years. In their article a large part of sea rise will be attributed to sea water volume simply expanding as it heats up. What?? So Congress’ idea is now to increase flood insurance rates so much – many eventually up to $20,000 a year – that we will be forced to start that abandonment process now to escape the rates. You know what abandonment of an area looks like: Detroit.
In the meantime we are already finding it difficult to sell our homes because of the threat of these horrendous increases which will be fully implemented for any new policy immediately. The once robust rate of home sales coming out of the real estate depression has now suddenly slowed to a whimper, home values are already declining and homes are routinely falling out of escrow as buyers get flood insurance quotes. This will affect every homeowner, renter or business here. Once again those of us who invested in the area by putting our retirement funds in Florida real estate will be ruined, unable to sell our homes and businesses, let alone afford the new rates imposed upon us in the meantime.
What to do? Make your voice heard with our Congressmen and Senators now. Join FIRM, pay off your mortgage so flood insurance is not required, or move if you can.
What a tragedy. What foolishness in the way this is being implemented. What a waste. What’s next?