Leaders react to FEMA pulling 25% insurance discount

Reporter: Annette Montgomery
Published: Updated:

Thousands of you will soon have to pay millions more for flood insurance, millions that FEMA said they would cover.

FEMA pulled their 25% discount for flood insurance for much of Lee County.

It will cost hundreds to thousands of dollars for more than 50,000 homeowners in unincorporated Lee County.

This announcement by FEMA last week will impact any property owner with flood insurance in Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and Estero, and this news comes as a shock to Lee County homeowners. County leaders said they can say the same.

Just like the storm that wrecked Southwest Florida in September of 2022, FEMA hit Lee County homeowners and even local leaders with some heavy news with no prior notice or warning.

On Thursday, FEMA stated effective Oct. 1, they will be removing their 25% flood insurance discount for property owners in Cape Coral, Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs and Estero.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Sue Farel, a Cape Coral homeowner. “I mean, I understand insurance. I get it, but when you haven’t had any claims, I’ve had no claims in my entire life for homeowner’s insurance, and my bills just keep going up and up and up.

Although local leaders say they’re calling on FEMA to pause this decision that will result in homeowners collectively paying millions, they’re not just going to sit and wait on an answer from FEMA but run it a step higher.

Tom Hayden, a Cape Coral councilman, weighed in.

“I think we’re gonna reach out to the people that we need to reach out to right now, besides FEMA, our congressman, congressman [Byron] Donalds, our senators, [Marco] Rubio and [Rick] Scott, to see if they can be there for us and be there to run a little bit of interference for us to say, hey, ‘You’re really hurting communities here with little or no advance warning that you’re going to do this.'”

WINK News reporter Annette Montgomery has an interview scheduled with Cape Coral Mayor John Gunter on Tuesday.

He said in a press release last week that he’s deeply troubled by the federal government’s decision, that the timing of this decision after Hurricane Ian is just wrong and that FEMA is the villain in this nightmare.

We obtained copies from FEMA requesting information about the post-disaster floodplain management activities from Lee County in 2023.

The first is dated Feb. 15, the next dated June 7, and finally, Dec. 6.

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