Realtors say flood insurance votes could affect election votes

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Some South Mississippi real estate agents want national leaders to understand this: How they vote when it comes to flood insurance rates could certainly affect how Americans vote on election day.

The United States Senate will take up a bill the House of Representative passed on Tuesday that would, among other things, permanently reinstate grandfathered flood insurance rates. Otherwise, flood insurance rates will skyrocket for many people living in flood zones.

Eight and a half years after Hurricane Katrina, crews are finally starting to tear down the only thing that was left of the Gulf Beach Resort: The sign. Realtors said there are reasons signs of recovery have been slow south of the tracks.

"Once they factor in the insurance, they realize they can't be profitable. So a lot of the beachfront is still undeveloped," said realtor Ray Gonzalez. "You are going to see a lot of people benefit from this bill. A lot of demand will start coming in within six months to a year."

A bill that would keep flood insurance rates from skyrocketing is good news to realtor Brenda Kay Ramm. She said in the last six to nine months she's see a lot of home buying deals fall through because of high flood insurance quotes.

"When you combine that with the wind pool and hazard insurance that comes out to about $7,100 a year on a house that's $97,000," said Ramm. "People are just walking away. It doesn't make sense to them to do that. They can't do that."

Realtors said home and business owners aren't asking for a handout, but just to pay a reasonable price. They said national leaders should keep in mind the overwhelming majority of Americans live within 25 miles of a coast line.

"That's a lot of votes," Gonzalez said. "That's a lot of people that you're affecting. One way or another you can have them on your side or not on your side. I would encourage them."

"This bill makes sense. It's not just a giveaway. People have to pay something in order to get it," said Gonzalez.

Ramm said, "The flood insurance program has been funded by the government forever. We do need to turn it around, but not to do it in such a harsh way, along the Gulf Coast especially."

If the bill passes the Senate, it will then go to the president.

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