St. Petersburg, Florida -- The water provides a great view for many Pinellas homes, but these days, that view comes with an ever increasing price.
Rising flood insurance rates are hitting neighborhoods across the Tampa Bay area and some aren't even close to the water.
Jerry Waite lives on a St. Petersburg canal and he's seen his bill go up. It hasn't been a huge increase, but as a senior on a fixed income, every dollar counts.
"It has increased and it's getting scary," he says.
And this crisis is not just a concernfor seniors. Right next door, Wendy Fink, a young mother, worries that the much higher, un-subsidized rates that would come with a sale will discourage buyers.
"Selling for us in the future is a concern," Fink says while holding her three-year-old daughter. "We want the full value of our house, not a discounted value placed on it because of insurance."
While lawmakers in Washington have tried to delay the drastic price hikes in the federal flood insurance program, so far there's been no fix. So on Tuesday, two lawmakers from Pinellas filed legislation for a solution at the state level.
The bill pushed by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Representative Larry Ahern (R-Seminole) aims to encourage more private companies to write flood policies in the state.
"It will allow flexibility to homeowners to choose premiums to meet what they can afford," said Brandes at a morning news conference.
Wright Flood in St. Pete is the nation's largest provider of federal flood insurance.Wright President Neal Conolly says that depending on how regulations are written, private companies could find Florida attractive.
"I saw some very interesting things in this bill -- some ideas -- and it could ultimately engender the right kind of discussion," Conolly told 10 News.
And for homeowners like Fink, more options sound good.
"I think competition's great," she said. "It usually leads to good things."
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