Plan shores up wind pool advances at Miss. Capitol

Published 7:20 pm Friday, January 12, 2007

Trying to keep a lid on rising commercial insurance costs along the Gulf Coast, the Mississippi House approved a bill Wednesday to put $30 million into the wind pool program.

The House vote was 119-1. The proposal moves to the Senate for more debate.

Gov. Haley Barbour has said he wants to spend federal money, rather than state money, to shore up the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association.

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The association is the insurer of last resort in the six southernmost counties, and it’s often called the wind pool. It assesses companies throughout the state to provide coverage in areas most insurers deem too risky.

Since Hurricane Katrina struck Aug. 29, 2005, the wind pool’s rates have jumped 268 percent for businesses and 90 percent for homeowners.

Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, said last week that mitigating the commercial rate increases would help drive economic growth on the coast and speed up recovery from the unprecedented storm.

The bill is House Bill 243.