Mississippi House Insurance Committee to Hold Hearing on the Coast

Of course the House Insurance Committee are the good guys in Mississippi. The problem with getting basic consumer protections lies int he Senate with Lt Gov. Phil Bryant and his hand picked insurance committee chair Buck Clark.

The meeting is tonight at the Colseum per the Sun Herald.

The state House Insurance Committee will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Coast Coliseum to hear the concerns of South Mississippi residents as well as business and civic leaders about insurance issues.

Rep. Michael Janus, R-Biloxi, said the meeting would give legislators from upstate a chance to hear the concerns of Coast residents firsthand and also might help get legislation passed.

“I think the ultimate goal is to utilize input we get out of this to hopefully formulate some legislation in the upcoming session that will assist in making insurance attainable and affordable on the Gulf Coast,” Janus said.

Insurance Committee Chairman Rep. Walter Robinson, D-Bolton, and other members of the committee will attend.

Last year the House Insurance Committee passed a “policyholders’ bill of rights” that would have put the burden on insurers to prove a claim is not covered in a policy when there is a dispute, but it failed in the Senate. Other insurance-reform bills introduced in the Senate also died. Most post-Katrina insurance reforms have failed in the Legislature.

Long Beach resident Kevin Buckel, who pushed for the bill of rights, plans to attend the hearing and continue to push for consumer protections.

He said he will continue to urge Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney to appoint a committee that would include citizens to study how policyholders’ rights can be improved in Mississippi.

Buckel believes a Consumer Bill of Rights in Texas is a good model for Mississippi to use. Among other things, the Texas bill puts the burden on insurance companies to prove a policy exclusion such as water damage applies to a loss.

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