Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood's proposed insurance legislation faces a tough battle at the state capitol. Last week, the AG announced his plan to force State Farm to resume writing new homeowner policies in Mississippi, which includes controversial action from state lawmakers.
"I haven't had a single person tell me that's a good idea, not a single one," Senate Insurance Chairman Dean Kirby said.
The AG is asking the state to require companies selling auto insurance to also offer homeowner policies statewide, if they sell them in other states. Kirby believes the proposal would do more harm than good to the state's already unstable insurance market.
"When you start forcing private companies to do anything, their first move is to shut down, possibly leave the state and we don't need that."
Hood says his plan is modeled after legislation recently passed in Florida. He even drafted amendements for insurance bills already working their way through the legislature.
"We've been working on a bill for over a year to help the people of Mississippi, and we're going to stick with that bill as much as we can," Kirby said.
While Senator Kirby says there's no way he'll consider adding Hood's proposal to any pending legislation, key house members say they'll at least consider it as the bills head to conference for a compromise.
"My opinion is we'll continue to listen to all ideas throughout the conference process," House Insurance Chairman Rep. Mark Formby of Picayune said.
But Formby, who just received a copy of Hood's request, said he does have concerns.
"Everyone keeps saying, 'We want to be like Florida.' If we become like Florida, we will have one insurance company. It will be the state of Mississippi, and it will be unaffordable," Formby said.
Insurance Commissioner George Dale also opposes Hood's proposal, warning it could push more companies away from the state.
State Farm stopped writing new homeowner policies in Mississippi last friday, blaming the state's legal and political environment post-Katrina.
By Wendy Suares
Hundreds of the river rats are washing onto the Hancock County shore - mostly in Clermont Harbor and Waveland – creating a big, smelly mess.More >>
Wind and waves from Tropical Storm Cindy battered the shoreline for several days. Erosion and debris are two of the biggest problems now facing the beach.More >>
A 150-year-old parsonage house in Moss Point is being preserved by the Dantzler Memorial United Methodist Church.More >>
Tropical Storm Cindy washed more than just seaweed and drift wood onto the beach in Hancock County. Hundreds of dead nutria litter the beach.More >>
A section of Courthouse Rd. in Gulfport will be closed for several days while public works crews repair a sewer cave-in.More >>
Police are still struggling for words to describe the attack that took place in Baxley Thursday afternoon after a mother and her daughter were assaulted at their family-owned restaurant.More >>