New insurance company to write wind polices in South Mississippi

Published: Apr. 28, 2010 at 4:55 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2010 at 8:42 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Gulf Coast residents now have an additional, local option in obtaining insurance.  Coastal American Insurance Company is privately-held, Mississippi-owned and managed company, formed by a group of Mississippi investors. The company will begin writing a limited number of homeowners and flood policies on the coast.

Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney announced the new company Wednesday.

"It is particularly gratifying that this is a Mississippi owned and operated company," Chaney said."

Coastal American Insurance Company will specialize in personal residential property insurance through homeowners and flood insurance policies. The company will begin writing a limited number of policies immediately.

"The addition of Coastal American to the list of companies willing to come and write policies on the coast is yet another step toward the return of available and affordable insurance in the six coastal counties," Chaney said.

Independent Insurance broker Dave Treutel, a member of the Mississippi Windpool told WLOX News, "I'm happy to see it. It shows that some of the things we've been working for in the Windpool are paying off."

Treutel says the Coastal American will offer a new choice for some of the 45,000 Mississippians currently insured by the Windpool.

"Those policy holders would like better rates," Treutel said.

At the time Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, just six insurance companies wrote 90 percent of the homeowners policies in Mississippi.

After the storm, several national insurance companies have dropped customers along the coast and added policy limitations to reduce coverage and risk. Those changes left thousands of homeowners without private insurance for wind coverage and forced them in to the state-run Windpool at higher premium costs.

Leaders across South Mississippi have pointed to insurance hurdles as one of the main delays in storm recovery and redevelopment.

The law governing the Mississippi Windpool was changed in 2007 to allow the Windpool to offer incentives to companies to come to Mississippi to write homeowners polices on the coast.

Treutel said the addition of Coastal American comes on the heels of SafeCo re-entering the Mississippi insurance market and Republic Insurance expanding its reach to write a limited number of wind policies on the coast.

Treutel is part of the network of agencies that will offer coverage Coastal American Insurance will be available through a network of agencies. That network includes; Fox-Everett, Hancock Insurance Agency in Jackson, Lemon-Mohler Insurance Agency in Ocean Springs, Mattina Insurance Agency in Biloxi, Stewart Sneed Hewes in Gulfport and Treutel Insurance Agency in Bay St. Louis.

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