BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The message is a strong one from State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney.
"I will not approve the increase they have submitted to us unless I have a court order to do so," says Chaney.
State Farm is pushing for a rate increase on average of 45% in the three coastal counties. David Majors, a spokesman for the company, said the increase is necessary.
"We had to act responsibly and ensure that we have the resources to pay for future loses," says Majors.
But, Chaney says it's not fair to homeowners. The company is pushing to raise rates but is unwilling to write new policies on the coast.
"That's just crazy! I'm not going to allow them to do that. I've got to be certain that if they're going to have any increase, they're going to open up and write new business on the Gulf Coast," says Chaney.
As far as homeowners are concerned, Chaney says he's in much better position, bargaining-wise, because more companies have opened up to write policies on the coast. Nearly 80 companies, according to Chaney, are willing to write policies, but not all write homeowner policies.
Majors had to this to say regarding Chaney's rejection of the initial rate increase.
"We have certainly always been willing to work with Commissioner Chaney and will try to find ways we can remain in the market in Mississippi and still meet the needs of the policy holders that we have there," says Majors.
According to Chaney, before any increases are approved, it will be a long process, including a series of public hearings. He also said homeowners can expect a break from rate increases, at least this year.