Coast Reacts To Wind Pool Changes - - The News for South Mississippi

Coast Reacts To Wind Pool Changes

Pass Christian's mayor sees wind pool relief as the first of many steps that will help his town rebuild. Mayor McDermott says, like everywhere else on the coast, the people of Pass Christian are plagued with insurance problems. He's glad policy holders will get a break.

So is a local housing developer who says he's looking forward to more affordable insurance prices.  It's only been on the market for a month, but a house in the Timber Ridge subdivision of Pass Christian already has several prospective buyers. The developer enjoys showing off the home's features, but talking about insurance rates isn't much fun.

"Right now with flood coverage, the policy would run a little over $3,500 a year. Three times what it would have prior to Katrina," said Mike O'Gorman. "With the realtors we deal with, that is one of the big factors in people not being able to come back to the coast."

Insurance is not only impacting people looking to buy new homes,  but also people making hurricane repairs. Pass Christian's mayor says some people are being priced out of their homes.

Mayor Chipper McDermott said, "Insurance is the biggest detriment now to rebuilding. Some of them can't get it. Some of them can't afford it when they get it and some people still trying to collect on what they had before so it's three ways around this horn that we've got to cover. "

While he doesn't think the changes to the wind pool will fix all of the insurance woes, Mayor McDermott says every bit helps.

"Every little step we'll take," said McDermott. "We'll take every little step to make one big leap eventually. Hopefully it will settle down and this will be maybe one of the first steps in order to get that to take place."

Mike O'Gorman of Precision Homes said, "People looking for entry level or moderate housing, they can get a decent rate. But if they have to pay $400 a month for insurance, it puts them out of budget. At this point it's not affordable insurance. I think that the pool that the legislature just passed and you said the governor is signing today will have a very positive effect on our housing industry and people coming back."

Mayor McDermott says business redevelopment has also been hurt by soaring insurance rates. However, he says several commercial projects are in the works in Pass Christian.

by Danielle Thomas

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