Homeowners Respond To Federal Help For Windpool

As South Mississippi begins to spring back to life, David Andre is hoping his lawn can do the same.

He has lived in his Woodward Avenue home for 62 years, and plans to move back in by Christmas. He has also been part of the windpool for a long time, and cannot imagine paying any more than he already does.

"I thought it was very expensive before because it was a special risk pool... and then to increase it. If it would have just been doubled, I would have probably not been able to think about it, but I didn't even put numbers down when it was going to be 400-percent," said Andre.

He pays about $3200 total for his homeowners and windpool insurance. He believes if it goes up even slightly, he will have to say goodbye to his childhood home.

Senator Billy Hewes says even with federal help, rates will still increase.

"We're going to see increases in insurance. We're likely to do that just because of the magnitude of the devastation, but this is a great step in offsetting a lot of that," said Hewes.

Community block grants will provide $30 million for this year and $20 million for next year, helping to pay off the windpool's $42 million loan for reinsurance.

But while Hewes says it is certainly a step in the right direction, David Andre says he will believe in the federal assistance when he actually sees it.

"There was $700 million that was coming to buy that railroad track that you hear in the background there, but that didn't get voted in this time, so who knows? When the money is in the bank and you can cash a check against, then I say that we have money. But there are many millions that we hear about and if it actually comes to pass and someway gets down to the people, that's what we need to see," said Andre.

Commissioner George Dale says it will be another two to three weeks before he knows just how much more we will all pay for insurance.