The following letter to the Tampa Bay Times was written in response to the editorial “Slow down flood insurance rate hikes” that appeared in the Sept. 17 edition.

The Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform measure you criticize uses the same kind of long-term phase-ins as Florida’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The Citizens phase-in was actually the direct inspiration for the language in Biggert-Waters. In addition, it’s worth noting that the rates will not soar for the overwhelming majority of homeowners — almost all primary residences are exempt from sizable increases. Even when the higher rates are fully phased in, FEMA’s sample rates indicate that a home right at the waterline will pay only about $150 a month for coverage.

The National Flood Insurance Program needs to charge more if it hopes to ever find firm fiscal footing. Higher rates may not please every homeowner, but they are necessary.

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