Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Thursday announced that they are filling a "friend of the court" brief in support of a Mississippi lawsuit aimed at halting massive flood insurance increases, but they have decided not to join the lawsuit as a litigant.
"We’re hoping Congress will do the right thing,'' Bondi said, in explaining why the state has decided not to put its legal might behind the effort. "We haven't ruled anything out at this point" noting that she hopes Mississippi's efforts are successful.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney filed suit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency last week asking a judge to halt the rate increases imposed by the Biggert Waters Flood Control Act of 2012 until FEMA completes an affordability study required by the act. Chaney asked the state's attorney general to join him in the lawsuit but he declined.
Under the act, an estimated 268,000 Florida homeowners with older homes in flood prone areas could see their rates soar when their property changes hands. The act was designed to eliminate a $24 billion deficit in the National Flood Insurance Program by gradually increasing rates for most homeowners in the program, and charging full-market rates for those who have benefited from below-market rates for years.