Florida Insurer Offers Borrower-Paid Alternative to Higher NFIP Rates

Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co., has become the first to offer private, borrower-paid flood insurance as an admitted carrier in Florida since the advent of the Biggert-Waters Act.

The legislation drastically hikes rates for the National Flood Insurance Program and industry groups have been pushing for legislative relief from the increases.

The Florida insurer, meanwhile, is offering private borrower-paid flood coverage for consumers who buy it in conjunction with homeowners insurance at rates it says are drastically lower than the NFIP's.

The company was able to provide the combined homeowners and flood insurance coverage to a family that bought a new home for $9,693. The home's previous owner last year paid $9,700 for flood coverage and homeowners insurance combined.

NFIP rate hikes the Biggert-Waters Act calls for would have increased coverage costs for the family to $57,000 for flood insurance alone in 2014, according to the company.  

Biggert-Waters enacts annual 20% increases in NFIP premiums on grandfathered properties and new policies like the one in this case face even bigger hikes.

Among legislative proposals in the works is one that could delay all flood insurance premium hikes for up to four years.

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