After 31 years on the job, Insurance Commissioner George Dale says he's come to the conclusion the insurance industry just isn't efficient.
"The way insurance benefits are delivered to the public is just not working. Requiring a person to buy several insurance contracts to cover their home and their belongings is not efficient."
Dale says he knows, thousands of south Mississippians learned that the hard way when Hurricane Katrina hit.
"Many times you had to deal with several adjusters having disputes over whether a loss was attributed to wind or water, and that's not what the public had in mind when they purchased insurance for their home."
However, he says it's nothing new.
"Even Camille, the major issue in 1969 was wind versus water. Here 36 years later the major issue is wind or water, so we're fighting that battle every time there's a water surge with a hurricane."
Dale says Mississippi lawmakers should take on that battle and address the problems with the wind pool.
"The wind pool is not a coast problem. The wind pool is a problem for the entire state of Mississippi because the wind pool and those 16,000 people that were in the wind pool prior to Katrina, their misfortune has determined the cost of insurance state wide."
And it's not solely up to Mississippi to solve. Dale says insurance companies, regulators, state and federal governments must find solutions so insurance will be available and viable in the future.
"We're looking into an interstate compact; to create a wind pool that can consider several states. Do away the flood program and put in an all perils policy. I think it's a great idea to spread the risks. Where people in Montana and Utah pay a little more for homeowner's insurance so as insurance could be offered that would cover earthquakes and water in a standard homeowner's policy."
George Dale knows not all of his ideas will be popular, but he says the answers are out there.
Some good news from Commissioner Dale - He thinks if we have another quiet hurricane season next year, insurance rates will level out, and even begin to decrease.
by Meggan Gray