House bill passes to cap massive flood insurance hikes

11:57 PM, Mar 4, 2014   |    comments
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2013 was the least productive year for Congress on record. (Photo: Cliff Owen, AP)



St. Petersburg, Florida -- Shannon Brooks knew good and well when he bought his waterfront home in the Shore Acres neighborhood last May that the need for flood insurance was inevitable. But the most recent cost estimates are still hard to swallow.

"We've been told our insurance is going to go up at least 30% next year and to expect 20% year after year," he said.

But, relief maybe the on the way.

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill tonight, 306-to-91, to cap those massive rate increases affecting hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Florida and hard-hit parts of the country.

Under the bill, sellers could pass on their subsidized, below-market insurance rates to new buyers and cap premium increases.  

Local lawmakers pushed for the new rules, and Congressman Gus Bilirakis lauded the bill's passage.

"It's a solution that helps people immediately, and addresses a long term issue," he said.

Governor Rick Scott called tonight's House action a way to preserve the "real estate market, and continuing growing economy."

Ultimately, while the bill is a start, homeowners like Shannon say even more needs to be done. 

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