Meridian Star

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August 19, 2013

Miss. flood insurance rates to surge

JACKSON —

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — With the eighth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina near, homeowners along the Mississippi Coast also have to brace for possible rate increases of 20 percent for flood insurance and 3.2 percent for wind pool insurance.

The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thec-l.com/16W0FV4 ) state Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney is urging residents in flood-prone areas to get flood insurance now because it is set to increase by 20 percent Oct. 1.

"If you live in a flood area, buy flood insurance," Chaney said recently. "If you buy it now, you will save a lot of money."

National Flood Insurance Program premiums are increasing under legislation Congress passed last year to make up for deficits in the federal program, which is billions in debt.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Gulf Coast states, including 4th District Rep. Steven Palazzo, oppose the rate increase and are trying to get it delayed at least a year.

"We must keep working to ensure the flood insurance program remains solvent while enacting changes in a compassionate way that doesn't punish policyholders facing steep rate increases under the current law," Palazzo said in a statement.

FEMA says some policyholders will see a 25 percent a year increase for the next four years and others will see a 20 percent a year increase for the next five years, beginning in late 2014, if the increases are not delayed or repealed.

Mississippi wind pool insurance is set to increase by Dec. 1.

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