"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

MEDIA COVERAGE

"Grassroots group still needs homes for anonymous inspections in effort to lower Keys windstorm rates"

July 23, 2014

Good Local coverage HERE in the KeyNoter newsaper for our Reduce Insurance Premiums Project (RIPP). We're over the hump in getting suitable volunteer homes, but still need quite a few. Please answer the call...

    Click here for more on the Reduce Insurance Premiums Project.


MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

FEMA Flood Zone Mapping Meetings

July 7, 2014

The outcome of the FEMA Flood Mapping program could greatly affect your insurance rates. These meetings will help to understand the program and provide a forum for public input. FIRM highly recommends that FIRM members -- and the general public -- attend and participate.

  • -- July 21 on Key Largo
  • -- July 22 in Marathon
  • -- July 23 in Key West

    Click here to view the agenda and other meeting details.


WORKSHOP

Did you miss the Mitigation Workshops?

June 14, 2014

The workshop that was held Thursday and Friday was recorded and is avaible here for playback at your leisure.....

(Single-click to start or pause, double-click to go full-screen.)
WORKSHOPS

Windstorm & Flood Mitigation Workshops are here

June 10, 2014

This week and next week there will be Workshops in all three segments of the Keys;

  • -- June 12 in Key West: DETAILS
  • -- June 13 on Key Largo: DETAILS
  • -- June 17 in Marathon: DETAILS

    Note that the Marathon workshop is different than the other two -- you may find it worth your while to attend both of them!


EDITORIAL

Key West Citizen endorses RIPP

June 5, 2014

Key West's local daily newspaper has published an editorial informing the public of the importance of our RIPP (Reduce Insurance Premiums Project). We appreciate their support and recognition of our efforts.

The editorial is available to Citizen subscribers on their website HERE. The publisher has authorized us to provide a copy of the editorial, which you will find HERE.


HEADS UP!

Watch for our Post Card!

June 3, 2014

Please monitor your mailbox, you may receive the pictured postcard from us if your property has been randomly selected for the RIPP (Reduce Insurance Premiums Project) study. If you get one, please follow the directions on the card...


Click the pic for a larger PDF of the card that shows both sides.


STORM SEASON 2014 PREPARATION

Accurate and Secure Home Inventory Made Easy (and FREE)!

MAY 29, 2014

You KNOW how important it is to keep an accurate PHOTOGRAPHIC inventory of your house and your possessions for that day the unthinkable happens. And storing it where you can get to it after that disaster!

But getting up-to-date pictures taken, adding notes and descriptions, serial numbers and other data is such a daunting task... Now you can stop putting it off!

FIRM strongly recommends a new FREE app from the consumer advocacy group UNITED POLICYHOLDERS that will quickly walk you through the process with your smartphone. It will also save your information securely in the cloud for immediate access later, even in the midst of a crises. This YouTube Video will show you the app in action...

GET THE FREE "UP Help" APP NOW:
    iPhone users: It's HERE on iTunes
    Android Phone users: It's HERE on Google Play
More details from United Policyholders: HERE


STORM SEASON 2014 PREPARATION

The Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday for 2014

MAY 28, 2014

Heads-up! There are only NINE days available to stock up on your storm-season essential equipment and supplies this year without a sales tax hit.

Starting THIS SATURDAY (May 31) and running through the following weekend (Sunday, June 8) there is no sales tax on purchases that meet the requirements spelled out in this year's legislation (product types and cost ranges).

FULL DETAILS: HERE.



EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

We are looking for an Administrative Assistant

MAY 24, 2014

FIRM is seeking a motivated experienced administrative assistant to staff our office and perform duties as documented: HERE.

This is an immediate need. If you are interested, please submit a letter of interest and your resume by JUNE 4 to firmkeys@gmail.com.

WORKSHOPS

Flood Insurance, Flood Mitigation and Wind Mitigation Programs

MAY 22, 2014

Recent changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will have significant impacts on local governments and property owners across the state. While the most recent law change is viewed favorably by many stakeholders, it raises numerous questions regarding the role of local governments in identifying flood risks, ensuring flood maps are accurate, and how properties at risk of flood can be mitigated. Additionally, given our state's vulnerability to high wind events, there remains a strong interest in ensuring communities can implement measures to ensure damages can be reduced or eliminated.

Workshops in Key West on June 12 and Key Largo on June 13.

FULL DETAILS IN OUR FLYER: HERE.


LEADERSHIP, EMPLOYMENT AND VOLUNTEER OPENINGS

Join the Team!

MAY 13, 2014

DEADLINE IMMINENT to apply for a position on FIRM's Board of Directors. Applications must be in by Thursday, May 15. More info HERE.

We are also seeking a paid part-time administrative assistant. Duties and responsibilities available HERE. Apply with resume to firmkeys@gmail.com

Finally, we desperately need volunteers to assist with a few aspects of our RIPP (Reduce IInsurance Premiums Project). Most would be in your own home, though some time in our office may be required. Call our office (305-294-3476) or email us at firmkeys@gmail.com if you are interested in helping with this critical effort to accomplish our mission.

Be the change!


KEEPING YOU INFORMED

Recently identified National Flood Insurance Program problems

MAY 9, 2014

FIRM would like you to be aware of two problems we've recently identified with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Details are: HERE


LEADERSHIP OPENINGS

FIRM is seeking directors

APRIL 28, 2014

The Board of Directors of Fair Insurance Rates in Monroe (FIRM) is now accepting nominations of individuals interested in serving on their Board of Directors.

FIRM, a grassroots organization formed in February, 2006 is comprised of homeowners and residents who are united to fight against excessive discriminatory and unaffordable residential, condominium and commercial property insurance rates.

This is a very dynamic Board with active Legislative, Fundraising, Policyholder and Media/Communications Committees. Responsibilities include monthly Board Meetings and energetic participation in Committee work. Middle and Upper Keys residents are encouraged to submit their interest as meetings can be attended by teleconference.

We have a limited number of open seats. Please send letter of interest and resume to FIRM / 422 Fleming Street / Key West, FL 33040 or electronically to firmkeys@gmail.com by 15 May 2014, 5:00 pm.


UPDATE

FIRM regrets to announce that Executive Director Chic Wagner has resigned.

APRIL 21, 2014

Chic was hired in November 2013, when the Board saw the need for a full-time Executive Director to manage its many immediate challenges involving windstorm, flood insurance and historic preservation issues.

FIRM and Monroe County owe Chic a deep debt of gratitude and appreciation for his enthusiastic efforts advancing FIRM's strategic plan laid out in October 2013. His tireless efforts dealing with Citizens Insurance, State and Federal Legislators were instrumental in achieving the successes and protections recently afforded Monroe County citizens.

While we will miss him, we thank him for his contributions and wish him well in pursuing his dream of laid back island living and being on the sea.


HELP FIRM HELP YOU

Take FIRM's Short Survey -- you could win a Water Adventure for two!

MARCH 26, 2014

CITIZENS Insurance has asked FIRM to prove that Monroe County building construction standards are the state's highest. Once proven, they WILL reduce our rates! However this requires a rapid - but carefully controlled - study of Keys construction.

THE PROJECT is already underway -- but we need YOUR HELP to speed it up! PLEASE help accomplish this by taking our short survey. NO OBLIGATION imposed!

Need more than LOWER insurance rates to convince you? How about: Complete our short survey and you're automatically entered into a drawing for....
FURY's ULTIMATE WATER ADVENTURE
(for TWO)
. Follow that link for all of the details about the prize. After the survey ends, each who completed it will be added to a "hat" and a single winner will be drawn. Winner will be notified directly, and announced here.

    Click here to TAKE THE SURVEY now!
 

New FIRM F A Q

Reduce Insurance Premiums Project Frequently Asked Questions

MARCH 20, 2014

Everything you need to know about participation in the study that will prove to insurers that Monroe County's building codes are the toughest in the state.
    Click here to view the FAQ
 

FIRM Silent Auction Fundraiser

The Gardens Hotel

MARCH 13, 2014

Supporting FIRM's effort to stop the rising tide of flood insurance, the Key West Association of REALTORS sponsored a silent auction fundraiser at The Gardens Hotel, 526 Angela Street, on Thursday, March 13...
    Click here for more details.
 

UPDATE -- News Release

FIRM's Summary of the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act

MARCH 12, 2014

Significant victories were achieved in DC but work remains to be done. Together, we stood up, lobbied hard, and worked closely with Congress to secure the most beneficial relief legislation to the Biggert-Waters Act possible...
    Click here to read FIRM's News Release.
 

Press Release

FIRM's 2014 Public Annual Meeting -- Key West

MARCH 11, 2014

FIRM's Lower Keys Annual Meeting was on March 11 at the Harvey Government Center in Key West...
    Click here to read the advance Press Release.
 

Initial HR 3370 Update

MARCH 4, 2014
The House passed their initial version of the Flood Insurance Affordability Act

On March 4, after two weeks of negotiating, the House passed, 301 to 95, an amended version of HR 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. While FIRM does not think it's a perfect bill, we are supporting its passage. The bill provides immediate relief to primary homeowners, eliminates the "sale trigger" that caused premiums to immediately skyrocket, provides refunds for folks caught between Biggert-Waters and HR 3370, requires and funds the affordability study, and has other positive aspects.

We are disappointed that second home owners and businesses will be subject to increases of up to 25% on average and are committed to continuing the fight for fair flood insurance rates for all property owners.

Thanks to EVERYONE who signed our petitions and shared their stories. YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE!
 

Press Release

FIRM's Public Annual Meetings -- Marathon

FEBRUARY 26, 2014

FIRM's Middle Keys Annual Meeting was held in Marathon on Wednesday, February 26...
    Click here to read the Press Release.
 

Press Release

FIRM's Public Annual Meetings -- Key Largo

FIRM's Upper Keys Annual Meeting was held in Key Largo on February 18th...
    Click here to read the Press Release.
 

News Release

Congressman Joe Garcia
Tele-Town Hall Meeting

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

Live Discussion on National Flood Insurance Reform

Congressman Joe Garcia hosted a live Telephone Town Hall to discuss flood insurance rate increases and the onerous impacts they have had on homeowners like you. Rep. Garcia provided an update on legislative and agency initiatives aimed at rectifying these impacts and fielded questions and concerns.

News Release

The House is Against Us...
Keep up the fight!

FEBRUARY 5, 2014

After the Senate voted last week for a delay, key House Republicans are opposing delaying flood insurance increases...
    Click here to read AP's February 4th Insurance Journal article.
 

News Release

Support Congressman Joe Garcia's charge to end the Flood Insurance Crisis

JANUARY 20, 2014

As Congress continues to struggle over resolving the flood insurance rate hike crisis that threatens thousands of Florida families, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami, introduced legislation Thursday to delay the proposed rate increases for at least five years...
    Click here to read the January 16th Miami Herald article by Mary Ellen Klas, Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau, and respond with your comments.
 

FIRM Call to Action:   Sign the
Flood Insurance Affordability Act Petition

JANUARY 1, 2014
Soaring Hikes in Flood Insurance Premiums Are Threatening Our Way of Life

Tell our Florida Congressional Delegation to support the Senate's Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S 1610) and its companion bill in the House (HR 3370). The Cassidy Bill is BAD for Florida!
FIRM supports the Senate's Homeowners' Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S 1610) and its companion bill in the House (HR 3370) which would delay rate increases for a period of four years for far more impacted Florida properties in a much more beneficial way.
    Click here to read more and sign the petition.