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Flood insurance reforms produce crippling premiums | News

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Flood insurance reforms produce crippling premiums
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- St. Pete College was jam-packed Wednesday with homeowners angry about new flood insurance requirements passed by Congress in 2012.

"I'm upset because the politicians, the political process, dropped the ball," said homeowner Jim Townsend.

Townsend is angry that many homeowners were blindsided by the new law. FEMA re-drew the flood zones to accurately reflect flood risk, while government subsidies were reduced. That will affect 50,000 homeowners in Pinellas, people like Larry Belanger, whose flood insurance premium will be $4,500.

Related Link: Learn more about the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

"This is going to affect a lot of people in small homes, not on the beaches, and they're going to suffer because they will lose their homes," said Belanger.

That's because the base flood elevation has been revised. Any home that sits below 10 feet is going to get nailed with a massive premium. And even some people who were never required to have flood insurance in the past will now be required to.

See chart: Pinellas County Property Apparaiser in FEMA High Risk Flood Zones

The Pinellas County property appraiser said there is another casualty: our economy. The real estate market is already taking a hit.

"Many sales are falling through and contracts are being cancelled when people find out what the premium is going to be on a house that used to have a premium of a couple thousand dollars," said Pinellas County property appraiser Pam Dubov.

See map: Single family Hillsborough homes in FEMA High Risk Flood Zones

See map: Single Family Pinellas Homes in FEMA High Risk Flood Zones

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