Insurance agent offering cheaper flood insurance

By Chris Hopper , Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 04, 2013, 8:41 AM EST

A Bay area insurance agent is giving homeowners a cheaper option in flood insurance premiums. 

Jeff DeNight, a St. Petersburg insurance agent, has spent the last two months breaking the bad news to dozens of homeowners facing massive flood insurance rate hikes.

DeNight got the go-ahead from insurance powerhouse Lloyds of London to start offering more affordable private flood insurance to homeowners such as Scott and Kristine Kennedy.

The new option gives homeowners hope in light of the Biggert Waters Act passed last year. The act was meant to reduce the National Flood Insurance Program’s debt, but homeowners in flood-prone areas are getting hit hard by high premiums.

"Historically, there’s never been another option for flood insurance," DeNight said. "That’s why we pursued this heavily."

The Kennedys will have to wait until next year to take advantage of it, because they recently renewed.

"Yeah I wish it was available for us a month ago before we had to renew," Kennedy said.

Kristine’s parents, who moved to Pinellas County from Kentucky, have to consider it now that they’re facing a rate they can’t afford.

"Being on a budget, getting ready to retire, they’re actually considering moving back to Kentucky," Kristine said.

Private flood insurance provides a light at the end of the tunnel for homeowners waiting to see if Congress passes a four-year delay that would truly provide some relief.

That four-year delay is still having trouble getting off the ground in the House and Senate.

As for private insurance, other Florida companies are also interested in providing it.

Some though will not be regulated by the state, which means there could potentially be some risks for homeowners who use it.