- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Florida Senate is backing a bill to entice private insurance companies to sell flood policies in the state that’s the most vulnerable to storm surge.

The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed the bill (SB 542) sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg. It heads to the Florida House where a similar bill is moving.

The legislation is designed to make it easier for private companies to sell flood insurance.

Florida is home to 37 percent of the federal policies and state officials say congressional attempts to overhaul the troubled program burdened many Floridians with skyrocketing premiums. Congress just recently rolled back some of the increases it permitted in 2012.

It’s not clear, though, that many private insurers will want to assume the risks of flooding.

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