Ocean Springs mayor says insurance increases are alarming

By Doug Walker - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - The mayor opened Thursday's insurance survey press conference with a dire warning, telling the crowd, "Insurance rates are causing a lot of our homeowners and business owners to rethink about even staying in Ocean Springs."

The mayor also added, "It's a tremendous hardship for everyone on the gulf coast.  It is the number one hindrance to economic recovery."

In front of a crowd of congressional aides and city officials, the mayor revealed more sobering statistics. More than 36 percent of the city's residents are now in the state run wind pool. And all are having to dig a lot deeper into their pockets to pay the insurance bill since Katrina.

"The cost of insurance for the people who responded to our survey doubled, in some cases they tell us that insurance is even higher than their mortgage."

Morgan Shands works in the office of Senator Roger Wicker.  He said the cries for relief have reached all the way to the nation's capital.

"The cost of insurance is a major concern here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and all across the gulf region."

Before ending the conference, Mayor Moran read letters from people who responded to the survey.  One of those letters came from Leica Holland.  Because of insurance, she has had to make a potentially life and death decision.

"I am going totally without the medication for my multiple sclerosis," Holland told WLOX News. "I have petitioned the drug company to help and they've not been able to help me because they say I make too much money.  But they don't understand that most of my salary goes to paying the insurances we have on the house."

Holland wonders if ever increasing insurance rates will eventually force her out of her well kept home.

City officials say there are ways for residents to reduce their insurance premiums. Click here to read the city's flood mitigation information.

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