Residents Are Concerned About Windpool Insurance Increases - - The News for South Mississippi

Residents Are Concerned About Windpool Insurance Increases

Biloxi resident Anthony Gazzo is convinced his home on Crawford Street may be the oldest shotgun house still standing.  

"They asked me if I wanted to bulldoze my house down," says Gazzo. "I said, well, this house is 100 years old."

Remarkable, considering Katrina flooded it with 12 feet of water and knocked it 3 feet off it's foundation. But Gazzo isn't going anywhere.  

"I keep chipping away at it every day. My goal is to do one thing every day."

Across the street, 2 houses stand exactly as they did in the hours after Katrina struck. He can't see how he or anyone else living here now or in the future can afford insurance premiums nearly double what they are today.  

"Ninety percent would probably keep me from buying insurance on that much of a mark up. I mean that would be tough. I haven't heard of anybody getting insurance in this neighborhood yet."

And he fears that a 90 percent increase in the wind insurance pool of last resort will do the one thing no previous hurricane in history has ever done.  

"Keep everybody from coming back to this neighborhood. You know they'll go somewhere else where it's cheaper, or where they can build back with a reasonable rate."

Gazzo has seen the designs urban planners have for his neighborhood.  

"I know they're supposed to put a city park in, from here on over there. And they got pictures of condo and stuff like that going in here."

And he wonders how long he can afford to remain uninsured and in the path of future storms as well as progress.  

"I have an old truck. I have an old house, I'm getting older every day. What I trying to do is have a place to live."

by Don Culpepper

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