Coast realtors learn the ins and out of flood insurance so fewer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Coast realtors learn the ins and out of flood insurance so fewer deals fall through

Too often, realtors say they have a house, a willing seller and a willing buyer, but when the flood insurance quote comes in, the deal falls apart. (Photo source: WLOX) Too often, realtors say they have a house, a willing seller and a willing buyer, but when the flood insurance quote comes in, the deal falls apart. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Some coast realtors are hoping a little more knowledge about flood insurance will help them sell a whole lot more houses. The Gulf Coast Association of Realtors put on a symposium in Gulfport on Tuesday.

Realtors said they are educating themselves when it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program. They said the challenge for them is that the rules of the program tend to change every six months, so it's important they stay on top of what's happening.

Too often, realtors say they have a house, a willing seller and a willing buyer, but when the flood insurance quote comes in, the deal falls apart.

Gulf Coast Association of Realtors President Deborah McGhee said, "We do write in our contracts to accommodate for the increase in insurance rates. Where if the house becomes unaffordable because of the insurance rates then that person is out of that contract and can get their earnest money back."

At a symposium, experts gave realtors some insight into what goes into flood insurance quotes.

"The uncertainty in the market as far as how much the premium is going to be, what a quote is, whether that's an accurate reflection of the actual rating, creates some confusion," said Lisa Sharrard Jones of Carolina Flood Solutions.

Sharrod-Jones owns her own business in which for 25 years she has assisted clients in understanding the National Flood Insurance Program. "What we want to do today is bring the truth down to where they can understand it and communicate that message down to their clients."

Realtors learned their clients have the option to buy flood insurance from private companies instead of just the federal government. State officials said competition has affected prices.

"Rates have come down," said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney. "We have five carriers that write flood insurance here in competition with the National Flood Insurance Program, and usually they're anywhere from five to 15 percent less, depending upon what zone you're in."

Armed with more knowledge, realtors said they'll be able to question prices they feel are inaccurate.

"So, as realtors representing our clients, we will know how to challenge and the information to pass on to our clients on how to challenge," said McGhee. "Because prior to our education, we were all at a disadvantage and we had to accept what was quoted."

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney says there are about 80,000 Mississippians who currently have flood policies.

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