JACKSON, Miss. – A group of lawmakers, leaders, and property owners from the Mississippi coast are pushing for a bill that would require insurance companies to report annually on how much they are charging customers for wind insurance premiums and wind insurance claims based on location. Similar laws have already passed in Louisiana and Alabama. They say the data is necessary for finding solutions to high costing wind insurance premiums in the area. Having the data would also enable Mississippi to join other states in the formation of a national wind insurance cooperative.
“I think there is going to be a very hard buy for insurance companies to go and provide insurance policies for those homes that are on highway 90. That is what the wind pool is for, it’s the insurer of last resort. But there are so many areas that are not in the high wind load areas – we just want to be able to see who is writing policies down in these areas, and we want to look at it, not just as a snapshot of one year, we want to look at it over time and see how well are we doing in getting new insurance companies to come to the state and write down policies in our coastal area. Cause the only way they are going to write policies is if the consumer see that the policies are lower than what is in the wind pool,”
said (R) Representative Scott DeLano.
DeLano says the goal is to decrease number of policies in the state wind pool which is backed by re-insurers. Today, it’s estimated that 60 percent of the dollars that go toward wind insurance premiums are being sent to re-insurers in other states and foreign countries. Before Katrina only 15 percent of that money was going to re-insurers.
“Don’t be afraid. Everyone should know that when we get this data back, it could come back and say, ‘wow the coast is actually paying less based on the risk that insurance companies are collecting.’ That is a very real reality, and I’m not afraid of that. I just want the truth out there and I want us to know where we are and how we can work forward.”
Wind insurance on the coast has risen tremendously since Hurricane Katrina. Several state lawmakers says it’s because insurance companies are no longer willing to accept an underwriting loss. This has resulted in unaffordable insurance premiums, hurting businesses and the housing market on the coast. They also believe high premiums have caused more people to obtain policies from the state wind pool.
Because a substantial share of Mississippi’s Tax Revenue is generated by coastal counties, lawmakers say this is an economic development issue that effects the entire state.