What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Monday, October 01, 2007

Bush vows veto

Friday, September 28, 2007

GAUTIER -- A bill designed to alleviate some of the insurance woes coastal residents have faced since Hurricane Katrina passed the House Thursday, but the representative who authored the windstorm provision does not understand why the White House has threatened a veto.

A provision authored by Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor was included in H.R. 3121, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, as a provision to allow homeowners to purchase wind and flood insurance in a single plan.

Since the storm, policyholders have seen their rates increase by hundreds of dollars, have been dropped or have been denied coverage of wind damage in places where flood damage also contributed to structural damage.

Insurance companies have claimed that flooding, not winds, were responsible for hurricane-related damages, which would make the federal government liable for payment.

Taylor said Thursday he couldn't believe that the White House issued a statement against his provision of the bill.

According to the Associated Press, the White House released a statement saying the provision would shift too much liability to the federal government and would encourage people to take inappropriate housing risks.

The statement said the president would be advised to veto the bill if it passes the Senate with the windstorm provision.

Taylor said when President Bush visited Bay St. Louis on the second anniversary of Katrina, he seemed open to helping the area recover. Taylor said he hopes the statement is a result of a lack of communication with the president.

Taylor recalled a meeting with Bush, Gov. Haley Barbour, local mayors and other economic leaders.

"He (Bush) sat forward in his chair and said, What do we need to do?' Everyone at that table said, We need all-perils flood insurance,'" Taylor said.

The bill has not been voted on in the Senate yet, but Republican Sen. Trent Lott has already said he will consider adding wind damage. Lott has said he does have some reservations about putting more responsibility on the federal government.

Taylor said he does not know when the bill will be taken up in the Senate, but he expects that some "will try to make this as everything but what it is."

But what it's really about, Taylor said, is about fixing a problem that should not have ever existed, even before Katrina.

"If something horrible happens to you, like what happened in Mississippi, your policy's going to get paid," Taylor said.

Taylor, who lost his Bay St. Louis home in the storm, said he doesn't understand why insurance companies are coming out against the plan, because they have told coastal residents that they do not want their business. Taylor said State Farm told him that they would not pay for wind damage, even though his roof was found several hundred feet from his house.

This plan could end up offering a higher quality of coverage for less money, Taylor said, and that probably scares the industry.

"They don't want this business," Taylor said. "They have said that over and over again, by pulling out, by raising their rates."

Reporter Amber Craig can be reached at or (228) 934-1428.

Copyright 2007 All Rights Reserved.

The Mississippi Press published the original article on September 28, 2008.

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