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Dale Announces Plans Regarding Windpool Rate Increase Filing

From: State Insurance Commission      Filed 4/28/06   GCN

Jackson -Commissioner of Insurance George Dale announced today that his office has received a rate increase filing from the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association (MWUA). He will give careful deliberation to the request for a rate increase of 397.8% for private dwellings insured for wind and hail damage, a 268% rate increase for commercial property, and 60.4% for mobile homes.

"This is going to be one of the most difficult decisions I have been required to make during my tenure as Insurance Commissioner. It is very important that I act in the best interest of all Mississippi policyholders. I have to consider granting an increase to maintain the Windpool's stability, while also assuring there is a viable market that does not adversely affect citizens statewide," Dale said.

Dale stated that he and his staff are examining the request with all due diligence. He will also be seeking public input through a public hearing at a date to be announced soon. This filing is available on the MID website at www.doi.state.ms.us.

"The MWUA only writes wind insurance in the bottom six counties in Mississippi. These are normally risks that insurance companies will not insure due to the wind exposure. The MWUA has already paid over $600 million in claims to their policyholders. As a result of these claims MWUA has had to assess over $525 million to all other insurance companies operating in Mississippi, even those that did not write any policies in the coastal areas. These assessments will ultimately be passed on to these companies' policyholders, even those insureds that don't live on the coast," said Deputy Insurance Commissioner Lee Harrell.

Harrell also said that the Mississippi Insurance Department (MID) and MWUA are continuing to pursue other avenues and sources of funds to possibly offset these increases.

The Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association was established by the Mississippi Legislature for the purpose of providing wind and hail insurance policies for high risk properties in the six Mississippi Coastal Counties that private insurers will not insure for wind and hail coverage. Each insurance company that is authorized to issue property policies in the state is required to be a member of the Association.

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