Fla. flood insurance hike delay approved, more permanent solutio - WNEM TV 5

Fla. flood insurance hike delay approved, more permanent solution in the works

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NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) -

Angela Leonardo and her husband worry rising flood insurance rates will force them from their New Port Richey home. But if their insurance jumps from $1,100 a year to $8,000, she says there's no way they can stay.

Congress took baby steps this week toward helping homeowners like the Leonardos, but a real fix is still in the works. The national flood insurance program is in financial distress, so congress let a federal subsidy that kept rates affordable expire in October. Since then, thousands of property owners have received renewal notices with shocking increases.

"I was devastated," Leonardo said.

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill that would delay the increases until Sept. 30. The Senate approved the bill Thursday night. But this is only temporary relief, and it wouldn't help owners of second homes or small businesses.

Read: Attorney General Pam Bondi's letter to Congress about the flood insurance rate hike problem.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor says the delay is a step in the right direction.

"That's just a modest step ... but still, helping 2 million Floridians, that's very important," Castor said. "But the larger issue remains to be dealt with. How do you make it affordable? How do you deal with the sales of individual properties?"

Meanwhile, the Senate is working on a bill that would delay the hikes for four years. The goal was to vote on that bill this week, but that didn't happen. The Senate is in recess all of next week, so the earliest the bill could go to a vote now is Jan. 27.

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