STATE FARM'S HEAD ON A PLATTER
What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Insurance: Catastrophic coverage the answer?


July 20, 2007


Fourth District U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor may have an answer for providing affordable coverage for Mississippi Gulf Coast residents and businesses.

His bill, HR 920, to expand federal flood insurance to include wind damage was the subject of three hours of debate before a congressional subcommittee Tuesday and, despite vehement opposition by the insurance industry, seemed to win support.

His Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2007 received a boost by a letter sent to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity by Gov. Haley Barbour in support of the bill.

"Hurricane Katrina demonstrated holes in the private insurance market and the National Flood Insurance Program and I support Congress considering legislation which would create a new program in the National Flood Insurance Program to enable the purchase of wind and flood risk in one policy," Barbour's letter said.

Calling it "a failed system," Barbour said the Coast's recovery has suffered because private wind coverage is scarce and premiums in the state's insurance of last resort, the wind pool, or Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association, have skyrocketed.

As shown by The Clarion-Ledger's May report "Rebuilding the Coast," until insurance issues are solved, recovery will lag.

Gov. Barbour's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal in its report, After Katrina: Building Back Better Than Ever (www.governorscommission.com), offered a tremendous blueprint in the wake of the storm. But efforts have been stymied by the lack of available and affordable insurance.

"Greed is the main disconnect in this situation," said Taylor, according to the Gulfport/Biloxi Sun Herald newspaper.

"It's easy for them to walk around in their Gucci suits and defend their companies, but the reality is down there on the Gulf Coast, where all of the destroyed homes and property of my constituents are," Taylor said. "Of course, these companies don't want to change the rules that are currently in their favor."

A vote by the subcommittee on the bill to move it to the full House could come before the August recess.

Posters in clarionledger.com's StoryChat Mississippi Insurance Forum are already debating the potential effects of such a bill.

Said one: "Haley has been right on the money for every key Coast issue and we need to encourage him to help get HR 920 passed. If it passes, the Coast will boom and Mississippi will never be last again."

Original article at Clarion-Ledger.

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