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Sen. Bill Nelson talks flood insurance

7:11 AM, Jan 24, 2014   |    comments
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL)
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(News-Press.com) - Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Orlando) spoke to The News-Press today about his thoughts on flood insurance.

He said the spending bill that President Barack Obama signed into law doesn't go far enough to help Floridians seeing drastic rate increases in their flood insurance.

"The big omnibus appropriations bill had a part in there, but that only solved it for 10 or 20 percent of all flood policies," he said. "The solution to the problem is what we are going to pass on Monday."

He's talking about a bipartisan bill, called the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, that has been waiting for a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate. He said the bill would delay many rate increases for four years while Federal Emergency Management Agency is mandated to do an affordability study.

The bill should have the 60 votes needed to move to a yes-no vote in the Senate, Nelson said.

"We'll pass it in the Senate, that's not the problem," he said. "The problem is the house."

This bill has seen opposition from the House, but Nelson said the Senate often has to show the House which way to go.

"Some members of Congress ought to be run out of town if the House doesn't pass it," he said.

On another note, Florida is working to create its own private insurance marketplace for flood coverage. A bill to do this received unanimous support in the state Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance. However, Nelson, a former Florida insurance commissioner, said there are certain risks that the private insurance companies won't take - and that's why the federal flood program was set up in the first place.

"The private insurance company is going to charge a much higher premium in order to cover its risk than will pooling of the resources for the entire country. That's why the federal flood insurance program was set up in the first place."

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