Survey: High Insurance Costs Hurting Ocean Springs Residents - - The News for South Mississippi

Survey: High Insurance Costs Hurting Ocean Springs Residents

OCEAN SPRINGS (WLOX) -- Sky rocketing insurance rates are pushing many residents out of Ocean Springs. That news comes from a survey conducted by the city to learn more about residents' post-Katrina insurance problems.

Mention the word "Insurance" to Scott Guthrie and he gets very upset.

"It is a rip off!"

The Ocean Springs man says he didn't receive much damage from Katrina, but his insurance premiums have tripled.

"Were up to $2800. We only make so much, my wife and I are not executives," Guthrie told WLOX News.

Guthrie and more than 1,000 other residents' post-Katrina struggles were revealed in heartfelt letters and survey answers read by Mayor Connie Moran. She says the results of a city-wide questionnaire show that many people are not building homes and businesses after the storm. And she calls that a huge economic loss.

"Building for commercials and residential have dropped by 50 percent. So that cuts out going to restaurants, or other purchases that they make," Mayor Moran said.

Moran blames the disappointing figures on high insurance premiums.

"As you can see in the volumes of testimony, they are suffering. Unless it's addressed, and gets national attention, and we raise awareness, our recovery is going to take many, many years longer."

Moran says the data colleted from these surveys will be sent to Congressional leaders in support of Congressman Gene Taylor's All Perils Insurance bill.

"If this passes, insurance rates will go down. It would help add wind protection to the National Flood Insurance Program. And it is not just hurricane driven wind, it could be tornados," Moran said. 

The bill passed the House, and is still alive in the Senate. Mayor Moran is hoping coast leaders can band together and make a stronger case next year.

"We are ready to go to Washington. The data and the stories, real stories from real people, will help."

Mayor Moran says the survey shows that 53 percent of residents say they are committed to staying in Ocean Springs post-Katrina. She is still encouraging people to write letters to the city if they are having insurance problems.

by Patrice Clark

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