The depopulation program that keeps state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. from growing too large should be a model for reforming flood insurance nationwide.

That’s the idea a Florida lawmaker is promoting as Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize a National Flood Insurance Program burdened by $24.6 billion of debt and ever-rising premiums

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, is calling for reducing the size of the government-run insurance program by allowing private insurers to take over bundles of NFIP policies. The concept would be modeled after Florida’s depopulation program that reduced the size of state-run Citizens from about 1.5 million policies in 2012 to fewer than 500,000 today.

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