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Flood Insurance Update

Update 1/13/2014

David Allbritton updated the IECA board about the Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition's efforts regarding the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act. The coalition passed a motion of non-support of the act, and will send it to representatives. For more information about the Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition, click here.

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Update 10/10/2013

Pinellas County Property Appraiser, Pam Dubov, and Connelly, Carlisle, Fields, & Nichols insurance sales advisor, Jennifer Rabon, spoke to residents at the IECA Town Hall Meeting about this important issue.

Ms. Dubov encouraged residents to take action to understand the changes and protect themselves. She suggested that residents contact their congressmen to request a delay of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act until there is clarification on the effects for Florida property owners.

Their presentations covered the following important information for property owners:

 

Changes primarily affect homes built before June 4, 1971 (Pre-FIRM)

These homes are known as Pre-FIRM, before the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) was established for Island Estates. The FIRM was established on June 4, 1971. Although 1975 has been discussed in the media as the FIRM date, this date does not apply to Island Estates as our community established the FIRM on the earlier date.

Pre-FIRM homes with existing flood policies purchased before July 6, 2012 should get an Elevation Certificate (EC) to determine if it will help or hurt their rates. If the EC negatively affects the premium, the homeowner will receive up to a 25% rate increase at every renewal until they reach actuarial rates. If the EC positively affects the premium, their insurance agent can submit it to their carrier for a premium adjustment.

Pre-FIRM homes with existing flood policies purchased after July 6, 2012 will be required to get an elevation certificate before their next renewal or the policy will be non-renewed. Once the EC is provided, the next renewal will be at actuarial rates.

 

All homes purchased after October 1, 2013 will be insured at actuarial rates

All homes purchased on or after October 1, 2013, regardless of age, in an A or V flood zone will be required to have an elevation certificate completed and policies will be rated based on actuarial rates.

 

Rates for Post-FIRM homes (built on/after June 4, 1971)

A home is considered Post-FIRM if it was built on or after June 4, 1971.  Post-FIRM homes will receive an average 10-16% rate increase at renewal.

 

New Property Valuations Planned- File your Elevation Certificate with the Property Appraiser's Office

The Property Appraiser will be valuing beach properties and it is very important because of the new legislation that they know the elevation of your home. If you own property in Island Estates, you should get an elevation certificate and file it with the Pinellas County Appraiser and give a copy to your insurance agent. You can get an elevation certificate from a Florida-licensed surveyor, engineer, or architect. For the FEMA Guide to Elevation Certificates, click here.

To file your elevation certificate with the Pinellas County Appraiser, email it to Pam Dubov at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Condo Dwellers take note

Individual unit condominium owners fall under the single family home policies. Owners with condos on higher floors will pay the same amount as owners on lower floors.

 

Your Evacuation Zone is NOT your Flood Zone

Find out about your flood zone and the Biggert-Waters Act and its affect on your insurance at www.floodsmart.gov

 

Do NOT let your Flood Insurance Policy Lapse

Current homeowners should make sure that their policy is in effect, because if it lapses they will have to purchase a new policy at the new higher rates. If your bank pays your insurance premiums as a part of your mortgage payment, make sure they do it before your policy is due. Effective October 1, 2013, the 30-day grace period was eliminated!

 

Real Estate Sales Down in Beach Areas

2012 through 2013 home sales in Pinellas County increased in all areas except the beaches- where they are down 3%-- due to insurance market uncertainty, projected 4th quarter sales will likely continue this trend. However, as buyers, sellers and realtors get used to the "new norm" the market should level out in the future.

 

Helpful Links

- City of Clearwater Flood Maps
- Factsheets, Q & As, brochures, and videos pertaining to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012
- FEMA Homeowners Guide to Elevation Certificates