of the Florida Condominium Ombudsman
Dr. Virgil Rizzo
Posted October 12, 2005
campaigns by private industry across Florida advises that many real property
owners are unnecessarily paying for flood insurance coverage and offers to help
determine if the realty is actually situate in a flood insurance zone
necessitating coverage. The service is offered for a one-time fee of one
yearís current flood insurance premium payable only if the property has been
reclassified as not requiring flood insurance. Under such a plan associations
are encouraged to drop their flood insurance coverage. The decision to enter
into this type of agreement is being made by the associationís board of
directors without the consideration or approval from unit owners.
Florida Statute Section 718.111(11) regarding insurance requirements for
condominiums in Florida requires a condominium association to maintain adequate
insurance to protect the associationís common elements. [The common elements
are as described in part (b) of that statute section].
unit-owner controlled association shall use its best efforts to obtain and
maintain adequate insurance to protect the association, the association
property, the common elements, and the condominium property required to be
insured by the association pursuant to paragraph (b).
The same statute section, as it currently exists with respect to flood insurance
coverage for common elements of the condominium association, renders this a
permissive rather than mandatory matter.
An association may also obtain
and maintain liability insurance for directors and officers, insurance for the
benefit of association employees, and flood insurance for common elements,
association property, and units.
These two statute sections are apparently in conflict as to whether
adequate insurance is required to protect the common elements by the
Failure of a condominium association to carry
flood insurance coverage for the common elements presents a real and foreseeable
danger with potentially serious economic impact for unit owners.
Ombudsman has received complaints alleging that some condominium associations
boards are electing to drop flood insurance coverage following a determination
that the property is not located within a flood zone where mandatory insurance
is required by federal law. While
this may be an effective cost saving measure in the short run, it may not be a
wise and prudent decision for the condominium unit owners.
a unit ownerís interest in the common elements represents only a fractional
share of the whole one alone may not be able to obtain adequate or sufficient
individual flood insurance coverage to compensate for a flooding event affecting
the common elements. Under such a scenario, all unit owners would be subject to
a special assessment of their proportionate share by the association to cover
the costs to repair, replace, or rebuild the damaged common elements. A
condominium associationís board of directors should not be able to avoid
adequate insurance coverage for the common elements and subject its members to
such a burden instead of prudently investing their funds in a policy for flood
protection for the benefit of all concerned.
urge all concerned to carefully review this issue and to take appropriate and
timely action to prevent unnecessary losses and burdens for the citizens of the
State of Florida. The Florida Legislature should be proactive in recognizing the
potential danger that exists and take action to prevent catastrophic losses to
Floridaís condominium unit owners in the event of a major flooding event.
To contact the ombudsman, e-mail: [email protected],
phone (850) 922-7671, or fax (850) 921-5446 or call the Ft. Lauderdale office at
Tel.: (954) 202-3234