Wind pool board approves lower increase for commercial premiums

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A new state insurance wind pool board on Tuesday approved a 142 percent increase for commercial premiums, a rate that’s significantly lower than it could have been because of $30 million from the federal government.

Beginning April 15, new premiums for the state-sponsored wind pool will be more than 100 percent lower than the 268 percent hike approved last year. Those who have been paying the higher premiums, beginning Oct. 1, will be eligible for refunds or credits.

The newly appointed board also decided to have its next meeting later this month in Bay St. Louis, a first for the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association, or wind pool, which has always met in Jackson.

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South Mississippi leaders on Tuesday said they are pleased with the appointments the Legislature, governor, lieutenant governor and insurance commissioner have made to the board, and with a bill the Legislature recently passed to overhaul and bail out the insurance pool. The bill was an effort to help solve the post-Katrina insurance crisis.

“We have been hearing a lot of positive comments from the industry and rumors about companies becoming more willing to write again,” said lawyer Ron Peresich, a member of the Gulf Coast Business Council who played a key role in crafting wind pool legislation. “I think the new board is a bunch of good guys, the legislation is a step in the right direction and the $30 million for the wind pool the governor just announced will cut commercial rates almost in half. When people go to renew their policies, that will provide some optimism, which is what we wanted.”