Insurance Commissioner to send letter to board of supervisors

Published 5:11 pm Thursday, February 28, 2008

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney will be sending a letter to the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors to clear up the question of what building codes must be enforced in Pearl River County, Chaney said in a phone interview yesterday.

“I don’t know what Pearl River County’s problem is, but someone has misinterpreted the law and misled the public about these codes. If residents don’t have homes built according to the building codes, they won’t be able to get available and acceptable insurance,” Chaney said.

Chaney said the state statute had been amended in 2006 to allow for the adoption of international building code regulations in the six coastal counties. Homes must now be built according to the building codes and inspected by qualified, certified building inspectors, in accordance with the regulations.

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Chaney said he will include a copy of the statue dealing with the building codes with his letter, as well as information about why codes are necessary and what they do.

“This is not a mean, harsh letter. It’s just a matter of fact… I’m just trying to get the point across (to the county and supervisors) that they have to enforce the codes and they have to have a certified building inspector to run the building department,” Chaney said.

Chaney said he believed one of the misinterpretations of the public is that they will see immediate reductions in their insurance rates.

“People expect these rates to drop over night, and they’re just not going to do that. It won’t happen. But I was able to announce some reductions last week, and hope to announce wind pool rate reductions sometime in the near future, so it is happening,” Chaney said.

Chaney said he had spoken with three of the supervisors by phone late last week, and tried to convince them of the need for the building codes.

“(The supervisors) can’t continue to thumb their nose at the state statute. If they do, we can make life miserable for them. If they are going to have available insurance in the county, they will enforce the law,” Chaney said.

Chaney said one of the supervisors had mentioned trying to have the statute repealed in the state legislature, but declined to name which supervisor it was.

“I did tell him he could try to get the statute repealed, but that the county would be paying millions of dollars back to the state and federal governments if he did,” Chaney said.

Chaney said the building codes are in place to make certain homes are built safely and securely, and that the codes are not difficult to implement.

“These codes are just requiring certain inspections of the homes as they are being built, and that new homes are built to the codes… They are little common sense things… This is not rocket science. They are just simple codes,” Chaney said.