Solutions sought to end MS's insurance crisis

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mike Chaney is hosting what he calls an open discussion about how to solve Mississippi's insurance woes.  The state insurance commissioner has brought a variety of experts to Biloxi, hoping their insights can dig Mississippi property owners out of a pretty big hole.

The two day conference started Wednesday afternoon.  It's being held because properties across the coast are scarred.  So are the psyches of south Mississippians, especially the people who still can't rebuild because of insurance issues.

Ricky Mathews is a member of the Gulf Coast Business Council.  "When you get to the issue of insurance, it's an amazingly frustrating storm," he said.

Mathews was part of a panel discussion that focused on solutions to Mississippi's insurance crisis.

"Please leave with a dogged determination, and maybe a little bit more information about why we need to solve this problem," he pleaded.

The man who put this insurance intervention together was Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.  "When your insurance monthly premiums are more than your monthly house notes, you've got a problem on the gulf coast," Chaney admitted.

Every day, the commissioner hears from property owners who can't seem to escape from the mess Katrina left behind.  In most instances, he says, people feel trapped, because of insurance availability and insurance affordability.

"The problem I see is I want it done tomorrow, because I see people leaving the coast because they can't afford insurance," said Chaney.

In recent months, insurance has become more available for a lot more storm victims.  So, the goal of the two day meeting is to figure out how insurance costs can be modified.  That way, people can rebuild, and communities can once again prosper.

Congressman Gene Taylor addresses the insurance group on Thursday.  He'll be there to pitch is multi peril insurance proposal.

Governor Haley Barbour will also attend the Thursday meeting.  Barbour will introduce a representative from the Traveler's Insurance Company.  Traveler's has a proposal for the nation's coastal areas that it wants to share with the 300 people at the forum.

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