Alex Sink, Democratic contender for Congressional District 13, rolled out potential solutions to Pinellas County’s dire flood insurance crisis at a press conference in St. Pete’s flood prone Northeast Park Neighborhood yesterday afternoon.
Using a home located in a FEMA high risk flood zone as a backdrop, Sink emphasized her commitment to bipartisan efforts in solving the flood insurance rate crisis. And she revealed her proposals to the gathering of homeowners and community leaders to start reforming the flood insurance system and stop the rate spike.
The homeowner, Gerald Burchert, told reporters prior to Sink’s arrival at the event, that he and his wife are on the cusp of moving to a smaller retirement home and that he feared he would not be able to sell due to skyrocketing flood insurance premiums.
Sink said, “Home sales [in the area] are paralyzed because of the Biggert-Waters Act. We need Congressional help to end the policy. ”
She went on to say that under the act premiums for homes in the $250,000 range could carry yearly premiums of up to $10,000.
Emphasizing her previous dealings with the insurance industry as CFO of Florida, she proposed tax incentives for homeowners who want to prevent and mitigate flood damage by elevating HVAC units, utilizing breakaway walls in first floor construction and installing backflow preventers.
“Pinellas County has paid in eight times more in premiums than it has in claims. We’ve paid our share,” she said. She also urged FEMA to be more transparent about the process and complete remapping studies that are used for rate calculations.
And the Democrat took the opportunity to announce that she had picked up a critical endorsement recently from the Pinellas Realtor Association.