Dwight Dudley expresses skepticism on Jeff Brandes bill to address flood insurance problem

  • Dwight Dudley

St. Pinellas County-based state House Democrat Dwight Dudley is calling for the formation of a select committee on flood insurance, as thousands of his constituents are getting socked by massive increases caused by the Biggers-Waters Act.

The federal legislation that went into effect in October is disproportionately affecting tens of thousands of Pinellas County residences, as the legislation phases out flood insurance subsidies on hundreds of thousands of older homes. The government has also been revising its flood zone maps and reassessing the level of flood risk for various areas.

Last week St. Petersburg-based state Senator Jeff Brandes introduced legislation that would allow private insurers to enter back into the area to write flood insurance policies, but Representative Dudley sounded a bit skeptical about that proposa in his press release issued Monday afternoon.

“I do believe that this is a good concept—in theory,” Dudley stated. “However, there are still a number of questions that remain unanswered. Will private insurers simply cherry-pick the most attractive policies, and leave everyone else in a lurch? Will they be able to skip town once all of the premiums have been collected? What safeguards exist to prevent a bunch of undercapitalized start-ups from entering the market, and then going belly-up within three months? Will rates be reduced enough so that they are actually affordable for the average homeowner? I think that these are all valid concerns, which must be addressed."

Dudley is now calling on House Speaker Will Weatherford to create a select committee on flood insurance to properly vet any potential solutions.

“Nearly three months ago, I called upon my fellow legislators to convene for a special session so that we could deal with Florida’s flood insurance crisis. I am making that call again today," Dudley said.

The Tampa Bay area is not the only region of the state being hit hard by the flood insurance increases, as areas of South Florida and Lee & Collier Counties in Southwest Florida are also being rocked by the new law.

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