Congressional Leaders Make Trip To The Coast

Fifty-two percent of Americans live in coastal cities. That's why Representative Gene Taylor and some big name congressional leaders say it's crucial to change the way insurance companies write policies. Now congressional leaders are making sure that people in South Mississippi know they will do what it takes to make some changes.

"This is an issue where Mississippi can lead the way. This is an issue that can go forward in a bi-partisan way and that's exactly how it should," says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi and several other members of the house came here to discuss insurance reform. All agree there is a great need for seamless wind and water protection.

"Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma are passed but their impact still lingers in the effected areas and will continue to linger for some time to come but natural disasters of their proportion can and will happen again," says David Treutel, a speaker at the town hall meeting and president of Treutel Insurance Agency.

Trish Williams with the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce agrees.

"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. We are one country and the success of the whole depends on the success of each part," says Williams.

Representative Gene Taylor is fighting against current wind pools with his multiple perils legislation, which offers wind and flood coverage in one policy. Speaker Pelosi says it makes perfect sense.

"We have something on our side. We are right, we are right, we are right," Pelosi said.

Critics say it's too costly. however bill supporters like George Schloegel, president of Hancock Bank, argue, we can't afford 'not' to have it.

"We know that this insurance is going to cost us a little more money and we know it may cost a little more at the federal level but we think it will be pennies compared to what Katrina cost us after the fact. If they don't like the way the bill is written, then tweak it. Put something in that they can accept. But the status quo of doing nothing is absolutely not acceptable," Schloegel said.

The bill will go before the Senate in September. Gene Taylor is urging the community to keep fighting for the legislation by writing state senators and even the president.