On the brink of a steep increase to their flood insurance rates, Eckerd College fights for relief

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - As Congress celebrated a partial fix to the flood insurance crisis last month, officials at Eckerd College, a private waterfront school in St. Petersburg, began to realize they weren't among the ones that would see any relief.

Come July, the college's flood insurance bill is still going up, way up.

"It caught us by surprise the way it caught our community by surprise," said Eckerd College Vice President Lisa Mets. "We're looking at a 25 percent increase per year, for who knows how many years, until we reach full actuarial risk rate."

So what does that mean in dollars and cents?

Well in 2013, Eckerd College's premium was $400,000. Under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, they're facing a 25 percent increase which would push their premium up to $500,000 in 2014. Within five years, Mets said the college's bill would be over $1 million.

"We think that's an increase that is too steep, too fast," she said.

But they aren't the only ones getting hit. According to Pam Dubov, the Pinellas County Property Appraiser, more than 1,600 commercial properties could see dramatic impacts.

The relief bill signed into law by President Barack Obama last month excludes commercial properties and second homes.

Mets said she remains optimistic that something will be done, but until then they're exploring all of their options.

"We need relief," she said.

U.S. Rep. David Jolly recently introduced legislation that could help with their situation. If passed, his bill would extend relief to business properties and owner-occupied second homes. It's currently working its way through the House.

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