TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2013) – The R Street Institute applauded the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation’s timely approval of a request by Homeowners Choice Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Inc. to begin offering private sector flood insurance coverage.

The HCI Group subsidiary will begin offering coverage for flood perils Jan. 1, 2014, focusing on homeowners who are scheduled to see significant increases in rates from the National Flood Insurance Program as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

The decision by FLOIR comes as state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and state Rep. Larry Ahern, R-Seminole, are preparing to unveil legislation this week that would encourage more private alternatives to the NFIP.

“We’d like to take our hats off the OIR for fast-tracking this decision,” R Street Florida Director Christian Cámara said. “As the NFIP moves toward sound actuarial rates, there’s a great opportunity for the private sector to compete directly for this business. Lawmakers and regulators should encourage that trend, and should absolutely oppose creating yet another taxpayer-backed mechanism for flood insurance at the state level.”

Earlier this month, R Street joined with other free-market groups to urge banking regulators to grant safe harbor to private flood coverage, including offerings from excess and surplus lines carriers, to satisfy requirements that certain mortgaged loans must carry appropriate flood insurance.

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