Gene Taylor Issues + Answers Lecture

Gene Taylor’s issue + answers lecture at USM Gulf Park was a well attended event. Besides Congressman Taylor, Senatorial hopeful Ronnie Musgrove, State Senator David Baria and Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney were in attendance.

While I organize my thoughts and before I give my personal impressions, I’ll post the Sun Herald story along with the actions of our fellow blogger and friend Steve, aka Topbanana, who shouted down an insurance agent that heckled Congressman Taylor. The agent in question was forcibly removed from the premises by campus security while Steve received a round of applause from the crowd for shutting the guy up.

This news story contains a factual inaccuracy, HR 3121 does not repeal the McCarran Ferguson anti trust exemption. sop

Taylor asks residents to act

Wants support for multi-peril coverage

By MICHAEL A. BELL

Continuing his fierce pursuit of federal multi-peril insurance, U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor on Friday urged South Mississippians to flood senators with e-mails, letters and phone calls in support of a bill that would allow property owners to purchase both wind and flood insurance under one policy.

“We’re all in this together,” he told hundreds at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Campus.

Taylor’s lecture, “The Insurance Crisis: A Case for Multi-Peril Coverage,” was part of the Issues + Answers series sponsored by the school and the Sun Herald.

The U.S. House has approved multi-peril insurance. But the legislation faces heavy opposition in the Senate.

“We need our senators to champion this issue,” said Taylor, who’s trying to convince senators to support the addition of wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Taylor argued insurance agents who probed the post-Katrina wreckage blamed the damage on wind. “I think the taxpayers got hosed on that,” he said. “Insurance is killing us.”

He said the private insurance industry made nearly $50 billion the year Katrina hit, then nearly $70 billion in 2006.

But people stuck in FEMA trailers – “42,000 little cubicles of love,” he quipped – continue to grapple with recovery.

“A lot of people are hesitant to rebuild,” he said. “And that’s not a good thing for our country.”

He argued his bill would provide peace of mind to residents that they won’t have to prove wind or water caused property damage.

“You don’t have that lingering feeling that ‘maybe I ought to stay behind with a video camera and have some evidence’,” he said.

He added his bill would no longer exempt the insurance industry from anti-trust laws.

Former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and current Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney attended Taylor’s presentation.

Taylor’s 60-minute speech was followed by a standing ovation and a Q&A session.

One woman asked how much Taylor’s policy would cost if it were approved by the Senate.

“The answer is, ‘We don’t know,'” Taylor said, adding the coverage would be optional. “But it’s got to pay for itself.”

Kenneth Trawick, 76, of Gulfport called the insurance industry a “runaway group of thieves” and thanked the congressman.

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