JACKSON, MISS- The budget cuts from the legislative session brought on double-digit cuts to many state agencies. The impacts of those cuts could be felt in your wallet.
“Homeowner’s insurance could go up fifty or sixty percent,” says State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney, “I’m not saying it will definitely happen, but it could.”
Commissioner Chaney says this is because of the nearly twenty-four percent cut the State Insurance Department and State Fire Marshal’s office (both positions held by Chaney) received this year.
“Without fire trucks in these rural areas, you could see homeowner’s insurance in those areas double,” says Chaney. The presence of fire trucks, good water supply and access are just a few factors that are considered with an area gets a fire rating. Those ratings are then observed by your insurance company, determining your rate.
Commissioner Chaney says it’s not just insurance premiums that will be impacted.
“With these budget cuts, we won’t be able to send out swiftwater rescue teams, like we had to do last week to the Coast after they got ten inches of rain in such a short time. We wouldn’t be able to pay the guys.”
The Commissioner says that payment for emergency and recovery services is often reimbursed by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. They also face immense budget cuts.
Annually, Commissioner Chaney distributes $16 million dollars to counties and cities across the state to implement fire education programs, provide fire alarms for homes, and any updates needed for fire departments. This $16 million, Chaney says, keeps insurance rates low.
“But it’s not about the insurance rates,” says Chaney, “it’s about saving lives.”
That’s why Commissioner Chaney says he’ll distribute that $16 million that has always been allocated, despite any push back from the state legislature.
“I don’t think any state legislator wants to take away $16 million going to counties and communities to lower insurance rates and save lives,” says the Commissioner, “we spend trillions of dollars going to war because someone was killed by an assassin. I would hope to God they’d use the $16 million to save lives here in Mississippi.”
Chaney says that with the current budget, something has to be done, and hopefully before January of next year.
“I think we’ll call them back by the end of the year,” says Commissioner Chaney, “I think we’ll have a special session.”