Good ratings bring insurance savings

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX)- When it comes to code enforcement, even small things, down to the smallest nail guard, make a big difference.  They may seem tedious, but building officials in Jackson County say its pays off to set the bar high, and the proof comes from Jackson.

The Mississippi State Rating Bureau has given a favorable building code effectiveness grade to Jackson County, and several of the cities within it.

"They went through our inspection process, how the inspectors are trained, how qualified they are, the number of inspections they do a day, the number of plan reviews they do," listed Jackson County Planning Director Michelle Coats.

This year was the county's first time to apply for a grade.  It received a five on a 1-10 scale.  One is the best and 10 is the worst.  The five rating could mean big savings for new homes built up to code.

"We're hoping that citizens of Jackson County will see maybe a 15-20 percent reduction in insurance premiums," Coats said.

Pascagoula received a big drop in its grade.  The city reduced its rating from a six to a four, according to Operations Manager Steve Mitchell.

"What this does for the city is it, since July of this year, the Mississippi windpool has agreed to recognize that rating," Mitchell said.  "And give a reduction in rating to residents of Pascagoula in the Mississippi windpool."

Mitchell said that recognition will yield noticeable savings on insurance for new homes.

"It equates to roughly a 20 percent savings in windpool insurance, or wind insurance, over and above what it would be if you had a class nine."

Building officials hope their new grades boost confidence in rebuilding efforts.

"Basically what we're saying to insurance companies is we're rebuilding as strong as we can," Coats said.  "We're doing everything possible to make sure that structures withstand any natural disaster, hurricanes, tornadoes, whatever comes our way."

The savings apply to new homes.  People with preexisting homes can also cash in though, through a process called retrofitting, which just means bringing your home up to current codes.

Ocean Springs' grade also dropped this year, from a six to a five. Gautier holds a rating of six.

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