Mitigation program rewrites inspection guidelines

By A.J. Giardina - bio | email

DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Linda Taquino remodeled her rental home in Diamondhead after it received six feet of water from Hurricane Katrina. Her insurance premiums then increased dramatically.

Hoping to reduce the cost, Taquino checked into the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association Retrofit Mitigation program. Under that program, qualified homeowners who build stronger can received a premium reduction of as much as 30 percent.

After contacting the agency in Jackson, an inspector was sent to her home at a cost of $250. Taquino thought once the process was completed, she would receive a detailed list from the inspector on what needed to be done to meet the program guidelines. Instead, she received a two page report saying her inspection failed.

"He sent a form back to us," Taquino said. "And I guess it was a miscommunication, because I would assume that they should give me a written report. Where do I go from here? What would be my next step and let me determine then if I could afford to make the changes to put the house in the program or not."

The retrofit pre-inspection check list involves the roofing system, along with windows and doors and other specifications. Taquino said when the inspector looked at her hurricane clips in the attic, he had more questions than answers.

"If they ask you, 'Well, what are these clips rated at?' Well, maybe I don't have the answer for that. But I would expect the inspector to have that information or be able to look at my clips and see what that is. Or are they expecting us to give them all the information?"

Joe Shumaker is the manager of the Underwriting Association. He admits there's been a problem in giving homeowners specifics on what they need to do qualify for the credit savings. But Shumaker said he's come up with new inspection guidelines that will breakdown each area detailing what a homeowner must do to comply.

Taquino said that's good news.

"That gives you a list, gives you a punch list to work from. And then you can price it out and you can determine, am I going to go to this second step," Taquino said.

For more information on the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association, call (601) 981-2915, or visit

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