Taylor addresses home buildiers

Published 3:58 pm Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., delivered a glimmer of hope to home builders of Pearl River County.

“You can’t have affordable housing till you provide affordable insurance,” Taylor said at a meeting for the Pearl River County Home Builders Association last night. As keynote speaker, Taylor came to thank the local builders, real estate agents and bankers for their participation in the fight to get insurance bill H.R. 3121 passed through the U.S. House of Representatives. H.R. 3121 seeks to pose some regulations on the insurance industry while providing more affordable homeowner’s insurance.

The new insurance bill, Taylor said, seeks to provide wind and flood insurance policies to homeowners as long as the house is built to meet certain criteria and the premium is paid. He also said as long as those conditions are met the homeowner will get paid for resulting damages.

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H.R. 3121 also will address the problem of “concurrent causation.” Taylor explained concurrent causation as the addendum in most insurance policies that caused homeowners to lose out on getting the maximum amount of money they were owed once their homes were completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

As Taylor explained it, there were four hours of hurricane force winds that preceded Hurricane Katrina. If a residential home managed to have one two-by-four left standing after those four hours of damaging winds, and a wave came up and knocked down that two-by-four, through concurrent causation insurance companies had a right to say the home was destroyed due to flooding, and only paid out for flood insurance.

This part of an insurance policy, which was largely interpreted incorrectly by most policy holders, protected the insurance agencies. H.R. 3121, Taylor said, seeks to eliminate the concurrent causation addendum found in homeowner policies.

“The program has got to pay for itself,” he continued. In order for the bill to work, is has to be provided at no additional costs to Americans.

Some sought to make insurance issues a Mississippi problem —and to pose an insurance rate hike only for those living on the Mississippi Coast — but, as Taylor explained it, the problem extends beyond Mississippi. “This is a national problem. Fifty-three percent of all Americans are coastal Americans,” he said.

He said that while the bill has passed the House, it still has a huge fight, but he truly believes that the bill will help in the overall fight to be able to provide affordable housing in the area.

Taylor also briefly discussed some of the same concerns that were brought up during the town meeting he held recently in Pearl River County. He said he knows gas prices are on everyone’s mind and that he wished he could say there was great news on the horizon, but that he could not. “I know that wasn’t what you want to hear, but I don’t want to give you false hope,” he said. He blames the problem on national and international demand.

The PRCHBA is the local chapter of the National Association of Home Builders. The organization consists of local builders and those who specialize in trades relating to home building. For more information about the organization, visit www.prchba.com.