When Congressman Taylor lost his home during Katrina, he ran into the same wind versus water insurance problems many of his constituents faced. On Monday, Taylor stood on a lot near his Bay St. Louis home and said it was time for Congress to make sure his neighbors got the insurance coverage they deserve.
One of his neighbors is John Hadden. His lot had concrete block pilings on it. But his home got destroyed by Katrina.
"It's hard to imagine that the storm would come in and do what it did without the wind causing a penny of damage in this home," Hadden said.
Yet that's what Hadden said he was told by his insurance company.
"They came out and they paid all of the flood claims that I put forth. But they didn't pay anything on the wind side," he argued.
Rep. Taylor noted Hadden's predicament during a news conference.
"This man has a masters in business from Tulane University, $650,000 worth of insurance, built what he thought was a hurricane proof house, and didn't get a dime," he said.
Congressman Taylor used his news conference to launch a new initiative. Taylor needs help to push for what he calls all perils insurance. And so he's asking storm victims to lend a hand.
"I want to hear the horror stories of south Mississippians with regard to their insurance companies," he said.
Taylor wants to be able to go to Capitol Hill and share the plight of homeowners like Mr. Hadden. He wants to be able to go to Congress and show what Katrina did to homes across south Mississippi. And he wants lawmakers to hear how many times insurance companies failed to respond to his constituents.
Taylor said he had a three prong plan to prevent future insurance disasters.
"Number one, we want all peril insurance so a person doesn't have to stay in their house with a video camera to see how it was destroyed," he said.
Hadden didn't have video proof when Katrina tore his home off its pilings.
Without enough insurance money, the Bay St. Louis man can't build a new home until a legal fight with his insurance company is settled.
"We have a total loss," he said, "and we're not able to rebuild without getting some of that money that we think is due to us."
Hadden is hoping Congress ends the nightmare for him and his neighbors.
"When somebody builds a home, they should have some confidence that if a natural disaster occurs, they're going to be able to replace that home," the Bay St. Louis man said.
Hadden bought a replacement home in an older section of the bay. He still has plans to rebuild on the water, if the insurance issues can be resolved.
His neighbor, who happens to be his congressman, thinks he has an all perils proposal to make that wish a reality.
"If you built it the right way, if you paid your premiums, and if it's gone, it doesn't matter if it's wind or water, you get paid," Taylor explained.
The congressman also wants to get rid of the anti-trust exemption that allows insurance companies to set the same premiums. And he'd like to see more federal regulations placed on the insurance industry.
In the next few days, Taylor will set up a website to collect stories from people who've had insurance issues since the hurricane.
"I'm asking for south Mississippi insurance horror stories," he said.