Flood insurance rate hikes will be delayed by nearly two years and possibly longer -- for most policyholders in Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says.
"Under legislation passed by Congress last month, the implementation of higher premiums was postponed until the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, 2014," U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's office said Monday in a news release. "But FEMA announced late last week that rate hikes will be delayed an additional 12-18 months as it 'develops guidance materials' for the agency to follow.
"That means that most homeowners in Southwest Florida will not see any rate increases until October of 2015 at the earliest and possibly not until April of 2016," Buchanan's office said.
These delayed rates could affect 78,812 policyholders out of 109,273 total NFIP policyholders in Floridas 16th District, which is represented by Buchanan, R-Sarasota.
This delay will provide extended relief for most policyholders in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, Buchanan said in the statement. While this is a step in the right direction, Congress must continue working towards a permanent solution that reforms the nations flood insurance program. The Omnibus spending bill, signed into law last month, bars FEMA from using its 2014 funding to implement higher flood insurance premiums for existing policyholders.
"However, according to a memo released by FEMA, 'once Congress has restored funding for this activity, the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) expects an additional 12-18 months would be required for FEMA to develop guidance materials,'" Buchanan's office said.