A new panel has been set up in Alabama by Governor Robert Bentley comprised of 24 of the state’s insurance and business officials as well as several regulatory figures. The panel is tasked with investigating the state’s insurance market in the wake of deadly tornadoes that ravaged the state, along with its neighbors, two months ago. The original intent of the panel was to focus their investigation to coastal areas, spurred by the forecasts of a tumultuous hurricane season. The effort has been expanded, however, to account for the toll of other recent disasters.
In late April, an outbreak of tornadoes cut swaths of destruction through much of the Southern U.S. In some cases, entire towns were left in utter ruin. With the estimated cost of losses well into the billions, the insurance industry has suffered a major blow as a result of the disaster. Governor Bentley is concerned that the market, if not the entire industry, may now be unstable.
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Bentley has appointed Tim Russell, the Baldwin County Probate Judge, to lead the panel in its investigation. Joining him are the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Jim Ridling, Revenue Commissioner Julie Magee, and several legislators and insurance agents. Bentley has also stated that he will be calling for a special session of the state’s Legislature to discuss the issue of the insurance industry, pending the findings of the panel and their advice regarding the matter.