"Over the past 35 years, Florida's families have paid into the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) over $16 billion, four times more than the amount they have received in claim reimbursements. We have done more than our fair share to make the NFIP financially sound. In addition, Florida's superior coastal building code standards and leading efforts in the area of hurricane loss mitigation have further reduced exposure for the NFIP. Florida's rates should commensurately reflect these important risk-mitigating factors."
-Gov. Rick Scott in a letter to Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio

ENDORSEMENT

FIRM endorses 2015 Flood Insurance Acts

July 28, 2015

Details in THIS PRESS RELEASE.


ANNOUNCEMENT

Heather Carruthers moves to FIRM Advisory Council

July 22, 2015

Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) announces that effective July 2015, President and Vice President, and long-time member, Heather Carruthers, will be moving from her position on the FIRM Board of Directors into a leading role on FIRM's Advisory Council, focusing on FIRM's legislative efforts and, from time to time, on other special projects.

Throughout her tenure serving as President and Vice-President, Heather has served as a tireless advocate for Monroe County. She was instrumental in the creation and founding of FIRM, and helped to steer the organization from its creation in a Key West backyard to the advocate juggernaut that it is today. Heather helped FIRM to forge numerous key relationships in the public and private sectors, to expand the reach and influence of FIRM, and to create a rich and effective board that powers the organization. Heather embodies the spirit and drive upon which FIRM was founded.

FIRM is committed to its mission and vision and will continue to work tirelessly for the residents and business community of Monroe County.

(PDF of this announcement available: HERE.)


MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Dinner at Mangia Mangia pays off

July 17, 2015

As it says on the "movie" poster....
"Tuesday Evening (5:30 - 9:00 pm) on September 29, 2015
Mangia Mangia Restaurant (900 SouthardSt)
donates 25% of ALLl food and alcohol purchasses
to FAIR INSURANCE RATES IN MONROE (FIRM) -- FIRMKeys.org
Restaurant reservations and information: 305-294-2469

SOUND ADVICE

CITIZENS "depopulation" confirmed --
  We offer suggestions and options

July 10, 2015

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation has approved the removal of up to 80,000 personal residential policies and 1,050 commercial residential polices from Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. See THIS PRESS RELEASE for information about the companies involved.

If you end up being affected by this, we have some very important guidance for you. HERE IS OUR GUIDANCE IF AFFECTED: CLICK.


REBUTTAL

CITIZENS Insuance a subsidy for The Rich?

July 3, 2015

Insurance blog "Right Street" has made an outlandish claim that Citizens Insurance and FEMA policies are "Subsidies for The Rich". Please see and pass along FIRM's rebuttal, from HERE.

(Links to original blog post are within the rebuttal document.)


US CONGRESS PRESS RELEASE

Reps. Curbelo & Murphy Introduce
Flood Insurance Fairness Act of 2015

June 29, 2015

FIRM recognizes the submission to the 114th Session of the US Congress this bill -- H.R.2918 -- to expand Flood Insurance rate relief to rental housing (as described in the Congressman's press release, HERE).

You can track the progress of this bill HERE.


FOR YOUR INFORMATION

CITIZENS Board of Governors request windstorm rate increases


June 27, 2015

As recently reported in the newspaper and elsewhere, the CITIZENS Insurance Board of Governors are going to again ask for rate increases from the Office of Insurance Regulation.

CITIZENS gives us their logic in this Letter.

FIRM continues to press for reconsideration of the rates that CITIZENS requests, and is seeking to prove that their actuaries are using faulty data in setting these rates. Stay tuned for further details of FIRM's strategic plans to deal with this matter.


HEADS UP

Federal agencies to REQUIRE escrow of flood insurance premiums

June 26, 2015

Federal Agencies will REQUIRE that Flood Insurance premiums be escrowed beginning next year!
But at least they won't require inclusion of your shed or other out-buildings on your policy anymore (in most cases).

DETAILS in this PDF.


SOUND ADVICE

CITIZENS is "depopulating" --
  Here are our suggested considerations

June 25, 2015

Nowadays, there's a good chance that CITIZENS Insurance may not WANT you, and will send you mail telling you so...

If that day comes for you, we have some very important considerations -- and options -- for you.

DETAILS in this PDF.


ACTION REQUIRED

Avoid overcharges on the new flood insurance surcharge

June 24, 2015

Have you verified your FEMA FLOOD INSURANCE status, lately? If not, you must do so before your next renewal or you may be overcharged!

As of April 1, 2015, if you have a FEMA flood policy, you will now be assessed either a $25.00 or $250.00 surcharge, based on the use of the insured building.

DETAILS in this PDF.


MEMBERSHIP

An Important Letter from Mel Montagne, President of FIRM

June 20, 2015

Please review this important letter from FIRM.

(Active links within the letter will take you to a great deal of backing material, if you are interested in following up on what you read there.)


LOCAL MEDIA REPORT

Key West a victim of FEMA discrimination?

June 15, 2015

Local "KONK Life" news is reporting on Key West problems with FEMA community certification. The article quotes Ron Wampler, head of the city's building department, as having his own theory why:

"Currently, FEMA is running a deficit because insured storm claim payouts have cost more than the amount collected from NFIP policyholder premiums and investment income. That deficit currently totals $23 billion. Any discount granted to Key West or other municipalities is money right out of FEMA's pocket."

"FEMA is heavily in debt to the federal government. And the federal government isn't going to give that up. I see this as their tactic to deny us entering the CRS program because it will enable us to get substantial insurance discounts."


FOR YOUR INFORMATION

Citizens Completes Financial Preparations for 2015 Hurricane Season

June 5, 2015

Read the Citizens press release: HERE



BE PREPARED

The FEMA App

May 28, 2015

Though storm season officially begins on Monday, there are LOTS of people already dealing with vicious storms. FEMA now has an app to help you prepare for and react to one near YOU. Be prepared!

Select the one for YOUR phone:
-- The iPhone app
-- The Android app


ON THE AIR

FIRM VP Heather Carruthers: RIPP status update

May 23, 2015

Heather spoke with US1 Radio's Ezra Marcus on Friday's Morning Magazine show, providing an upbeat report on the current status of our Reduce Insurance Premiums Project. Give it a listen....


LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

City of Key West Donates
$20,000 to FIRM

May 21, 2015

Tremendous appreciative accolades to the City of Key West for their recognition of the value to the citizenry realized by FIRM's work. The contribution granted by the Commisioners was most judicious and generous. Full details are: HERE.

Front row (l to r): FIRM President Mel Montagne and Key West City Manager Jim Scholl. Second row: County Commissioner Heather Carruthers, Robert Gold, Kate DeLoach. Back row: Theresa Faber, Carol Schreck, Lee Cummings, Laura Burchard


BE PREPARED

Two weeks to official start of Storm Season

May 15, 2015

FEMA's "Ready" site provides a compehensive look at hurricanes and how to prepare to deal with them....



OPENINGS

FIRM Seeks Board Nominations

May 2, 2015

FIRM is seeking Board members -- deadline for nominations is just 2 weeks away (May 15). Join us! DETAILS in this PDF.


IN THE NEWS

Citizens Ends "1 in 100" Assessment Risk Surcharge

May 1, 2015

Though we've recently seen FLOOD insurance surcharges imposed by FEMA, at least we can now look forward to removal of the Citizens Insurance "Once in a hundred years storm" WINDSTORM surcharges from our Florida insurance bills.

Read the Citizens press release: HERE


LOCAL RECOGNITION

Cow Key Channel Bridge Run

April 29, 2015

A big Thank You to David Sloan and the Cow Key Channel Bridge Run for their recognition of FIRM as an honorary sponsor of their 2nd annual "run" -- "The only Zero K Bridge Run. Anywhere".

A lot of fun was had by all who participated!


IN THE NEWS

Citizens plans to issue up to $1 Billion in new bonds

April 27, 2015

Good to see Citizens getting their house in order -- good time for them to take a serious look at reducing the subsidy that the Keys policy-holders (who pay much much more into the pool than they ever extract) provides to the rest of the state. FIRM will continue to work toward that goal. (Click the pic for "Property Casualty 360" news report.)


TESTIMONIAL

Former Florida Consumer Advocate lauds FIRM

April 22, 2015

At last month's FIRM final annual meeting in Key West, Sean Shaw -- Florida's former State Consumer Advocate on Insurance Issues -- spoke to us and proceeded to give FIRM a rousing testimonial within his discussion of consumer issues. Click this pic to watch. (After the video loads, double-click on it for full screen.)


(This video may not work for you other than on Internet Explorer.)


FIRM OUTREACH

FIRM Prez meets with Chamber

April 16, 2015

Attention membership of the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce... Don't miss next Tuesday's luncheon at NOON. Our President -- Mel Montagne -- will be there to fill you in on the latest Windstorm and Flood insurance issues. See you there!


SAVE THE DATE

Golf Tournament to benefit FIRM

April 12, 2015

The FIRM Marathon and Lower Keys Association of Realtors will be holding a golf tournament to benefit FIRM on JUNE 28! Full Details -- and a registration form -- in THIS PDF.


LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORT

Reece & Associates Contribution

April 7, 2015

FIRM is deeply grateful for a generous donation to our continuing mission by local surveying firm Reece & Associates!

Won't you or your business join them? ...We'll ALL benefit!

Check out our donation pages!


ON THE JOB

FIRM contingent invades Tallahassee

April 1, 2015

FIRM has been well represented this week during Florida Keys Day (actually "Days") with our State Legislature in Tallahassee. We have been representing all of the insured and need-to-be-insured home and business owners of Monroe in numerous meetings with many legislators and agencies. Full report coming soon....


Local Coverage

KeyNoter: Flood insurance
rates rising again

March 25, 2015

FIRM President Mel Montague contrinbutes to THIS STORY run by the Florida Keys Keynoter today, reporting on the National Flood Insurance increases that we have receently warned our membership about.


ANNOUNCEMENT

FIRM ANNOUNCES SISTER ORGANIZATION

March 18, 2015

Looking to make a TAX DEDUCTIBLE contribution toward FIRM's mission to bring down and limit windstorm and flood insurance rates in Monroe County? Previously -- by law -- we were not a deductible donation, due to our lobbying mission.

However since we are also so much more that just a "lobbying group", we've separated our lobbying efforts from the rest of our mission and spun off a team that you can support and get a tax break while you're at it. We are now two teams: "FIRMkeys" and "FIRM PAC".

A PDF holding the full announcement can be viewed HERE.


HEADS UP!

New Flood Insurance Surcharge hits
on April 1

March 14, 2015

This is not an April Fools joke.... There WILL be a new surcharge -- up to $250 -- on your flood insurance, effective April 1st.

Details in THIS PDF.

FIRM continues to stay abreast of this and is incorporating strategies to deal with it into our mission. Stay tuned...


ON THE AIR

Key West Association of REALTORS President talks FIRM with Bill Becker

March 10, 2015

KWAR President Terri Wilson spoke with US1 Radio's Bill Becker today on his Morning Magazine show. Between them they had a lot of good things to say about FIRM and our mission. She also reiterated KWAR's support for FIRM, including their large recent donation and another PAC donation soon to come. We are grateful for that support, as should be all residents (homeonwers and renters alike) of MOnroe County.

if you missed it, check it out here...



COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Cudjoe Gardens Property Owners Assocation latest to step up to the challenge

March 5, 2015

FIRM is always grateful to receive community support for its mission. Recently the generous members of the Cudjoe Gardens Property Owners Association stepped up to grant us a significant contribution to the cause. A big THANK YOU to President Larry Francisco -- and the entire organization -- for the substantial donation!



REMINDER

Our FINAL 2015 Annual Meeting - ALL invited

March 3, 2015

Tonight (Tuesday March 3) is your last best chance to catch up with what FIRM is doing for you, to tell FIRM what you want it to do and even to give some DIRECT feedback to the CITIZENS' Consumer Services chief! Drop by on the way home from work at 5:30 pm, at the Harvey Government Center.

A PDF holding the full announcement can be viewed HERE.


ON THE AIR

FIRM VP Heather Carruthers gives the low-down, on Evening Edition

February 28, 2015

Heather spoke with US1 Radio's Ezra Marcus on yesterday's Evening Edition show, covering the topics to be covered at next Tuesday (March 3)'s public meeting. She also talks about the guests (e.g., from CITIZENS) who will be present to get YOUR feedback.

Get the detailed announcement for the meeting HERE.


ANNOUNCEMENT

Surviving Wind and Flood (Insurance in Monroe County)

February 24, 2015

FIRM ANNUAL MEETING -- ALL INVITED! Your last chance for a FIRM annual meeting this year -- this one is in Key West, next Tuesday, March 3 at 5:30pm. It's at the Harvey Government Center.

A PDF holding the full announcement can be viewed HERE.



COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Key West REALTORS continue support for FIRM's mission

February 20, 2015

Once again Key West Realtors have stepped up to support FIRM's efforts to bring us all fair insurance rates. The recent fund-raiser presented by the Key West Association of REALTORS and hosted by the Gardens Hotel has generated a big contribution to the cause! We are grateful to all of these generous Realtors and Realty organizations.



ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY

All invited to a FIRM Annual Meeting

February 15, 2015

Whether you're a member or not, come to our ANNUAL MEETING...
...at a Key near you!
THIS TUESDAY WE ARE IN THE UPPER KEYS..

CITIZENS Property Insurance Corp's Chief of Consumer and Agent Services Steve Bitar will participate in the meeting.

A PDF holding the full announcement can be viewed HERE.


OPPORTUNITY

All invited to a FIRM Annual Meeting

February 10, 2015

Whether you're a member or not, come to our ANNUAL MEETING -- at a Key near you! THIS WEDNESDAY WE ARE IN THE LOWER KEYS.
A PDF holding the full announcement can be viewed HERE.


COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Key West Association of Realtors steps up

February 8, 2015

Be there or be square!


OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT

FIRM Invites Keys Residents to Annual Meetings

January 28, 2015

Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) invites all residents of Monroe County to its series of Annual Meetings, to be held in four convenient locations from Key Largo to Key West....
A PDF holding the full announcement can be viewed HERE.


ANNOUNCEMENT

FIRM's Annual Meeting Is Near

January 24, 2015

Coming to a Key near you!

Watch for full details coming shortly, but here are the FOUR dates for different parts of the Keys. Mark your calendar NOW. See you there!

Marathon (Middle Keys)
Tuesday Feb 3 at 5:30pm to 7:00
Marathon Gov. Center, BOCC Chambers

Ramrod (Lower Keys)
Wednesday Feb 11 at Noon to 1:30pm
Boondocks Grill (MM 27.5)

Key Largo (Upper Keys)
Tuesday Feb 17 at 5:30pm to 7:00
Murry Nelson Gov. Center, BOCC Chambers

Key West (End of the road)
Tuesday March 3 at 5:30pm to 7:00
Harvey Gov. Center, BOCC Chambers


EXPRESSION OF SUPPORT

Representative Raschein and FIRM urge Governor to Reappoint Insurance Commissioner McCarty

January 23, 2015

Yesterday, State House Representative Holly Raschein expressed her support on US1 Radio for the reappointment of Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty (lListen in via the attached clip.)

FIRM strongly supports reappointment of Commissioner McCarty. We have contacted the Governor's office to express our position, as detailed HERE [PDF].


ACCOUNTABILITY

FIRM Presents RIPP Status Report to Monroe County BOCC

January 22, 2015

Yesterday FIRM President Mel Montagne presented a full progress report on our Reduce Insurance Premiums Project to the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners. YOU CAN WATCH THAT PRESENTATION, TOO (it's just over 20 minutes long) -- just click the picture below....



LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACTION

Monroe County Commissioners call on Governor to Reappoint Insurance Commissioner

January 21, 2015

This afternoon, the Monroe County BOCC officially approved resolution

"A RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MONROE COUNTY, FLORIDA, IN SUPPORT OF THE REAPPOINTMENT OF FLORIDA COMMISSIONER OF INSURANCE REGULATION, KEVIN MCCARTY".
Full resolution (in PDF form): HERE

FIRM concurs with this position, and will be issuiing its own recommendation.



OLDER NEWS

You'll find our older announcements and news
included within our IN THE NEWS Page: HERE.

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