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Flood Insurance

Flooding is a serious risk in Florida due to the state’s geography and proximity to water, both inland and on the coast. Insurance to cover this risk is not typically provided in a homeowner’s policy, so it must be purchased separately. Depending on a home’s location, flood insurance may be a required purchase as a condition of a mortgage.

A vast majority of flood insurance coverage is federally regulated and provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). To qualify for flood insurance, a community must join the NFIP and agree to enforce sound floodplain management standards. When this happens, the residents in that community are allowed to participate in and purchase flood insurance coverage through the NFIP. Unless an exception applies, a 30-day waiting period is required before NFIP flood insurance goes into effect. The following two exceptions are crucial to a variety of situations that lenders deal with every day. They apply when coverage is placed in conjunction with loan activity or the remapping of a community. The National Flood Insurance Reform Act contains what is called the "initial purchase" provision, which states that the 30-day waiting period does not apply to the following instances: (1) "The initial purchase of flood insurance . . . when the purchase is in connection with the making, increasing, extension, or renewal of a loan, " or (2) "The initial purchase of flood insurance . . . pursuant to a [map] revision or updating of floodplain areas of flood zones" within a 1-year period.

In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Reform Act (BW) extending the NFIP for five years and requiring significant program reform measures. The law’s implementation consists of gradual changes to the NFIP over the course of several years.

Commissioner McCarty, Florida's Insurance Commissioner, issued a press release in April 2013 warning homeowners of the expected price increases taking effect on October 1, 2013 due to these reforms. The Commissioner worked diligently to compile and present information to the Governor's Office and Florida Legislature about the potential negative effects it would have on Florida's property insurance market.

As predicted, the new changes led to unintended consequences for thousands of Floridians who began to see drastic price increases on new and renewal flood insurance policies offered through the NFIP. Florida's Governor and legislators urged the President and Congress to act swiftly in re-addressing BW to provide relief for Florida consumers and lessen the impact to the state's real estate market

Meanwhile, Commissioner McCarty issued an informational memorandum to insurance companies interested in writing primary flood insurance as a way to provide Floridians with an alternative to the NFIP. A list of these insurers can be found on this webpage.

In March 2014, Congress passed and the President signed into law the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 . This new law repeals and modifies certain provisions of BW, and makes additional changes to other parts of the program not covered by BW. It also lowers the rate increases implemented in 2013 on some policies, prevents some future rate increases, and institutes a surcharge on all policyholders.

In May 2014, the Florida Legislature passed SB 542, which streamlines the process for private insurance carriers to write flood insurance in Florida. Commissioner McCarty issued a statement advocating in support of it on May 1, 2014. The legislation enhances consumer choice and provides an alternative to the NFIP. Three different types of flood coverage are allowed, all of which begin with the basic coverage provided under a standard NFIP policy. On June 13, 2014, Governor Scott officially signed it into law.

On April 1, 2015, Commissioner McCarty issued a press release informing Floridians about new changes taking effect in the NFIP and about a growing number of private companies offering flood insurance as an alternative. The NFIP changes include the implementation of annual surcharges on all new and renewed policies for both primary/non-primary residences and non-residential properties, rate increases for a majority of policyholders, and a new deductible option. This NFIP fact sheet describes these changes in more detail.

This issue is a critical concern for our state, as Florida has the largest number of participants in the NFIP and pays four times more into the program than it receives in claim payments.

The Office is working collaboratively with Florida insurers and well-capitalized reinsurers who are interested in providing a private sector alternative to the NFIP.

This "Flood Insurance" webpage was developed by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (Office) to provide useful information and links for consumers, media and other interested parties. Some of these resources were not developed by the Office, and some links will direct you to websites not maintained by the Office. In addition, the listing of an insurance company is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by the Office.

Flood Insurance Writers in Florida>>

Flood Insurance Resources>>

Please note - some of these resources were not developed by the Office, and some links will direct you to websites not maintained by the Office.