In yesterday’s Sun Herald I saw Geoff Pender took Commissioner Chaney to task over his ill advised Wind Pool Press Release from last week. In his piece, Pender hits on the sentiment I’ve encountered since this became a topic for discussion down here; one that is not favorable to the commissioner:
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney last week announced in a press release that state wind pool insurance premiums would soon approach pre-Katrina prices.
I’ll pause for the howls of derisive laughter to subside.
Now, obviously, if you live on the Coast and participate in the wind pool, you know that statement is a bunch of bullfeathers. As one reader responded, “They are closer to pre-Katrina levels except that they are 75 percent higher.”
Chaney later explained that he was referring to rates for a “Fortified Home,” or one built to a stringent set of hurricane-proof standards. OK. Problem is, only one such bunker has been built on the Coast to date.
Now Chaney has enjoyed something of a honeymoon with the Coast, perhaps because people here were so anxious to oust his longtime predecessor. He’s also had a couple of successes – first as a legislator, then as commissioner – in championing changes that could help insurance consumers. But many more “mission accomplished” pronouncements like the one in that press release could have people heating up their tar pots and tearing up their feather pillows.
The “derisive laughter” will certainly die down with the passage of time. While it does I hope the Mississippi Insurance Department finds someone new to write its press releases.