Wind insurance rules unfair to Islanders
As just about any Anna Maria Island home and property owner can tell
you, it pays to live within 1,000 feet of the Gulf of Mexico.
Well, it doesn't
exactly pay, but it sure saves you a heck of a lot
of money when it comes time to get wind insurance.
because the Citizens Property Insurance corporation
operated by the State of Florida will only issue a
wind insurance policy - read "Hurricane
insurance" - on an Island home or business
building if it's within 1,000 feet of the Gulf
Sorry about that
for most of you business and home owners on the bayside
that fall outside the 1,000-foot perimeter.
But not so in
Sarasota and on Longboat Key, where both cities are
designated by the state in a "V-zone" and
eligible for its cheap wind insurance policies, saving
taxpayers in those cities millions of dollars annually.
unequitable," said Christiaan Huth of Oswald
Trippe Insurance in Holmes Beach, whose office is just
about 1,300 feet from the Gulf, and thus doesn't
qualify for Citizens.
in the designated wind zone, Huth said he has a number
of companies, particularly the Hartford, that will
offer an owner an attractive homeowner's insurance
policy because it doesn't have to cover wind
damage from a hurricane. And flood insurance is covered
by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Outside
the V-zone, however, get your checkbook ready.
The wind zones
established by the state several years ago are not
fair decisions, maintained Huth. "In Sarasota,
you can get a low-cost wind policy and you might be
almost to Interstate 75, about five miles from the
On Anna Maria
Island, homeowners outside the 1,000-foot zone can
still get wind insurance, but the premiums don't
come cheap. For business owners in that same area,
it's impossible to get wind insurance, Huth said.
Huth recently wrote a homeowner's insurance policy
for a Gulffront home. The homeowner's annual
premium without the wind insurance was $700, while
Citizens stepped in with wind insurance for $2,300
for a total annual premium of $3,000.
home in Key Royale in Holmes Beach would have to pay
about $4,500 for property and wind insurance," said
If that sounds
high, consider the case of one Island resident who
purchased a $1 million house, then found it was 100
feet outside the wind zone. Ineligible for a Citizens
policy, his wind policy from a private insurance company
cost $17,000 a year, while his homeowner's insurance
premium is around $1,500 annually.
In another odd
twist, Citizens can write a commercial wind policy
anywhere within the Sarasota and Longboat Key city
limits, but must maintain the 1,000-foot restriction
on Anna Maria.
That means people
looking to purchase their business as a "condominium," such
as those in Bayview Plaza in Anna Maria, are caught
in the bureaucratic mess. Citizens doesn't consider
Anna Maria's bayside waters to be part of the
Gulf of Mexico.
business owners need wind insurance to get a mortgage
to buy their location, but can't get wind insurance
anywhere. Therefore, they can't buy their units
and are stuck paying the ever-increasing rents due
to spiraling taxation.
won't write a policy for commercial space on
the Island not within 1,000 feet of the Gulf, but will
in Sarasota because the entire city has been placed
in the wind insurance-eligible zone. That's totally
unfair," said Huth.
In an effort
to get some equal protection, a number of local insurance
agencies are banding together to petition the Florida
Insurance Commission to change the Island's V-zone
designation, and they've enlisted the aid of
State Rep. Bill Galvano of Bradenton and Sen. Mike
with people who can't get wind insurance on their
business, or who have to pay a really high premium
for their house. We'll do all we can to help
find them insurance at the best price.
wonder why Sarasota gets wind insurance almost five
miles from the Gulf, while some people here are just
1,200 feet away and can't get a policy."
But the wind
blows in strange directions on Anna Maria Island.
The Florida Department
of Environmental Protection recently indicated it would
include Anna Maria's bayside coastline from the
Rod & Reel Pier north around Bean Point in its
list of critically eroded beaches and the DEP considers
this area to be part of the Gulf of Mexico, as does
University of Florida marine engineer Dr. Robert Dean.
part of the Gulf of Mexico or not apparently depends
on which way the wind is blowing.