Business Owners Weigh In On A Move By State Lawmakers To Help Stabilize Insurance Rates

State lawmakers took action last week to help stabilize insurance rates on the coast and speed up economic recovery.

"What happened this week is a perfect example of what can happen when the coast business come together and speak with one voice," says Brian Sanderson, Gulf Coast Business Council.

But, David Gross, owner Gulf Coast Laundry Services, says medium size businesses like his still find themselves in a tough spot when it comes to getting insured.

"We're very pleased with what the legislature did this week to help out local businesses there's not question about that. We're also very concerned about companies our size that are too large to be in the windpool and need to be able to get affordable insurance for windstorm and other casualties in the market, says David Gross, Gulf Coast Laundry Services owner.

For businesses, like Gross', who need to be insured beyond a million dollars, they would have to buy into the windpool and find insurance outside the windpool to cover their insurance needs. According to Albert Betz, a local insurance broker with Sawyer Foster Insurance Group in Gulfport, this would not be cost effective for Gross as he looks to the future of his business.

"As the community comes back and we need more production capacity for laundry, we'll have to build on to this plant.  In order to build on to the plant, we'll have to borrow money and will have to obtain insurance to be able to do that," says Gross.

Although the windpool bill is a good start, Gross hopes state lawmakers will continue to keep businesses like his in mind as they consider they're next move to solving the insurance crisis.

Additional Information:

Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby says the bills the House and Senate passed are about 80 to 90% alike.

Both bills require companies who write policies in the state to contribute to the windpool.

The differences in the bill include who should be on the board overseeing the windpool.

-Senate wants insurance agents on the board while the house does not.

-House wants a tax diversion where 18-million dollars in sales tax from the coast would be pumped into the windpool.

The house and senate must come to a resolution on a final bill before handing it off to the governor to consider.