Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers traveled throughout the Florida Keys since January to spread awareness about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its impact on Monroe County’s 31,000 policyholders.
Carruthers presented a comprehensive slideshow to 13 groups – including chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, real estate organizations, homeowner associations, and the League of Women Voters. The presentation highlighted NFIP's history, the national flood problem, potential changes to the program, the County's efforts on the possible impacts of the new FEMA flood maps that are expected to be released this summer, and steps property owners can take.
With the upcoming remapping, Carruthers, who is the co-chair of the Florida Association of Counties Federal Legislative Committee advocating for changes to strengthen NFIP and is also a founding member of Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM), urges residents to buy flood insurance or a Preferred Risk Policy now since the map changes will likely bring more expensive premiums.
“The sooner a property is in the program, the lower the ‘starting point’ will be for future increases,” she said. “Flood insurance is the only policy that is assumable – that means even if you don’t have a mortgage and don’t require flood coverage, a future buyer may need it – and having it could keep you from derailing the sale of your property in the future.”
There will also be a risk rating redesign taking effect in late 2020 that will score individual properties instead of a community rating, which can help Florida Keys homeowners and increase participation in the NFIP.
“Coastal communities drive the economic engine,” she said, citing that flooding happens even outside the floodplain. “The most important thing you can do is get and maintain flood insurance, stay informed, talk to your legislators and colleagues, and support FIRM-supported reforms.”
A reminder, hurricane season starts June 1. To learn more about the NFIP, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/NFIP, or to have a presentation for a group or organization, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-292-3430.