MS Insurance Commissioner: National Flood Insurance Program needs reform

MS Insurance Commissioner: National Flood Insurance Program needs reform

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An overhaul is in the works for the federal flood insurance program that covers thousands of homes in Mississippi.

Senator Roger Wicker recently unveiled proposals that would improve the NFIP, which includes allowing local communities to map flood zones.

Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance Mike Chaney has his opinions about the future of the national flood insurance program. His biggest push is for the federal government to allow private coverage.

"What we want them to do as commissioners around the United States is to include the ability to sell private flood insurance which would give the consumer a better deal," said Chaney.

South Mississippi has had its fair share of flooding lately, putting those insurance policies to the test.

In a discussion with the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Chaney gave his take on the NFIP and where it's heading.

"I think congress is going to pass the bill to renew the NFIP," said Chaney.

However, he says it wont be the overhaul that is needed for the program to be sustainable long term.

There are some changes in the works on the local level.

"The state has appropriated funds back in 2016 legislative session for purposes of remapping effort along the coast, which directly impacts base flood elevation and what the premium is to a homeowner or business with the flood policy," said Brenda Simkins, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce's Chairwoman of the Regional Strategy Issue Manager Group.

While local leaders say remapping will make a difference, for coastal communities like those on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, they say the real relief wont come until the NFIP is completely reformed.

"What's key to economic development and life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast is that you have permanence and stability in the flood program versus just the continued short re-authorization with uncertainty embedded therein," Simkins said.

Simkins is urging people to contact local congress members to maintain the grandfathered rates in the National Flood Insurance Program.

For now, local leaders say they're waiting to see what congress decides to do.

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