Rising insurance prices leaving many in a bind

Published 6:10 am Monday, July 23, 2007

By By Jo Bonner
There are no easy answers to the ever increasing and frustrating insurance prices the Gulf Coast has experienced over the past few years.
With insurance companies limiting their exposure in certain areas, homeowners are being left in a bind when protecting their homes and families from natural disasters.
The insurance crisis is not only in Alabama, it can also be found in our neighboring states of Florida and Mississippi as well as Louisiana.
Living fulltime in Alabama's First District, I understand – and share – your concerns and frustrations firsthand. Insurance traditionally has been regulated at the state level and not by the federal government.
In an effort to help address this issue, I recently cosponsored the Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2007, H.R. 920, introduced by Congressman Gene Taylor, D – Mississippi.
Too often – in the aftermath of a hurricane – the debate between homeowners and adjusters is whether the damage was caused by wind or by water.
H.R. 920, if enacted, would create within the National Flood Insurance Program the option of purchasing coverage for both wind and flood in one policy.
In the end – damage is damage – and property owners should have the option of purchasing comprehensive coverage from one source. I am hopeful Congress will make this coverage option available to homeowners in the future.
In addition, I have been in frequent contact with Governor Bob Riley, Alabama Insurance Commissioner Walter Bell, as well as former Foley Mayor Tim Russell, who has been working hard to form a captive pool policy for homeowners and businesses in our area. I have also been in contact with numerous other state and local leaders – all with the hopes of urging immediate action on this critical issue.
Currently, H.R. 920 is awaiting markup in the House Financial Services Committee before it can be brought to the House floor.
Rest assured, if progress is made either at the state level or here in Washington, we'll be sure to make you aware of any new options that might be available.
Town Hall Meeting Reminder
In August, I will be traveling throughout the district holding 20 town hall meetings in all six counties of Alabama's First District.
I hope each of you will take the opportunity to find the meeting closest to your home and come out to visit with my staff and me.
Monday, August 13
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. – Dauphin Island
Town Hall
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Tillman's Corner, Community Center
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Prichard
City Hall
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Saraland
Civic Center
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Citronelle
City Hall
Tuesday, August 14
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Stockton
Stage Coach Restaurant
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Mount Vernon, Town Hall
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. – McIntosh
Town Hall
4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Grove Hill
Town Hall
Wednesday, August 15
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Uriah
Uriah Volunteer Fire Department
12:00 – 1:00 p.m. – Perdue Hill Masonic Lodge
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. – East Brewton
City Hall
4:30 – 5:30 p.m. – Flomaton
Town Hall
Thursday, August 16
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – Josephine
Josephine Volunteer Fire Department
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Bon Secour, Bon Secour Volunteer Fire Department
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. – Magnolia Springs, Magnolia Springs Volunteer Fire Department
3:30 – 4:30 p.m. – Summerdale
Community Center
5:00 – 6:00 p.m. – Silverhill
Town Hall
Friday, August 17
8:00 – 9:00 a.m. – West Mobile
Jon Archer Agricultural Center
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. – Bayou La Batre, City Hall
My staff and I work for you. If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at http://bonner.house.gov
Jo Bonner is a U.S. congressman. His column appears weekly.

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