Senate poised to freeze flood insurance rate hikes for Bay Area homeowners

Plan would freeze rates for four years

CLEARWATER - The Biggert Waters Act passed in 2012 was meant to phase out federal subsidies that made insuring homes near and on the water more affordable.   The implications of that started to sink in late last year when Bay Area homeowners were hit with the news that their flood insurance rates would double, triple and more.

Immediately, realtors predicted market collapse in places where people couldn't afford to keep their homes and nobody wanted to buy them.

State lawmakers are trying to lure more insurance companies into the state and the Governor appealed to President Obama to stop the rate hikes.

But next week, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson says the Senate is poised to approve a bill that would delay any rate increases for three or four years and  require FEMA to conduct an affordability study.

And though House Speaker John Boehner indicated he would not support such a bill, Nelson believes pressure from panicked constituents will change minds.

"People start letting their members in congress how unhappy they are that they'll have to pay insurance premiums 10 times what they have been playing, then I think members of Congress will change their minds" said Nelson.

The next Congress person representing Pinellas County's 13th district will support freezing the rate hikes whether it's Democratic Candidate Alex Sink or her Republican opponent, David Jolly.

Both believe Congress needs to stop the rate hikes for the benefit of Florida homeowners and the larger economy.

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