With hurricane season about to start in the U.S., many states that stand in the way of potential storms are looking for ways to improve their respective insurance industries. In Mississippi, legislators are considering a newly introduced bill that will help settle wind-versus-water insurance disputes.
In the past, homes that have been destroyed by hurricanes have been the subject of dispute as to whether the majority of the damage was caused by wind or water. The bill hopes to remedy this issue by establishing a process through which insurers will be able to determine the primary cause of damage after a hurricane.
This issue is spawned from the unwillingness of insurance companies to pay for what they consider flood damage. Flood coverage is rarely included in many homeowner’s policies. Most Mississippi homeowners receive flood insurance through the federal National Flood Insurance Program. Even those participating in the program often do so only because they are required to as part of their mortgage agreement. The vast majority of homeowners throughout the state have no flood protection at all.
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The bill has been introduced to the Senate by Representative Roger Wicker. If successful, the bill will compile information gathered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as several private agencies. This data will be processes using a formula that would determine the primary cause of damage for properties decimated by hurricanes.
Wicker will seek co-sponsors for the bill and has high hopes that it will pass uninhibited. The opinion among the state’s insurance industry is varied, ranging from support to opposition.