Gene Taylor in his Own Words

Folks this final installment of our Gene Taylor Youtube series is courtesy of Kdreporter, a news intern with the ABC affiliate in Santa Barbara California who interviewed Gene last summer. So lets climb on in the FEMA trailer and hear Gene on Katrina, FEMA and Multi-peril insurance in his own words.

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US Representative Gene Taylor on his Multi-Peril Insurance Bill HR3121

Following is an interview Gene Taylor gave WLOX TV on HR3121 and the politics involved in passing the measure out of the House of Representatives. He also addresses bogus claims the bill will place an unfair burden on the taxpayers.

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Tish Williams on the Impact of the Insurance Crisis on Small Business

“Small business were simply left out”, said Tish Williams, executive director of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce to the assembled congressional delegation gathered in Bay St Louis. She told story after story of long time small business owners fighting to stay open, some living off their savings so their employees could be paid. She also recounts the horror stories of businesses unable to fully insure their risks due to the high costs.

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George Schloegel of Hancock Bank on the Insurance Crisis in Mississippi

“The status quo of doing nothing is absolutely not acceptable”, said George Schloegel, Chairman and CEO of Hancock Bank, to the assembled members of Congress on our insurance crisis. Banks will not lend on projects that aren’t insured and the lack of insurance options on the coast has killed many otherwise economically viable projects.

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Dave Dennis on Insurance

“For the average person it is fundamentally not working…” said Dave Dennis, owner of Specialty Contractors and current board member on the New Orleans Federal Reserve on the insurance market in Mississippi, specifically the Gulf Coast. This issue is not about liberal or conservative, republican or democrat as all of us here on the coast are suffering the proverbial boot to our throats applied by big insurance and their Mississippi based scallywag enablers.

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Update: Today the Sun Herald ran this story on Dave Dennis and his retirement from the New Orleans Fed:

“For many people, the Federal Reserve might be a mysterious board that deals mainly with interest rates. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Fed helped South Mississippians and New Orleanians in a very concrete way. And a Coast businessman can be credited with helping make that possible.

Dave Dennis, president and CEO of Specialty Contractors & Associates Inc., in Gulfport, has served on the New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve Board of Directors since 2001 and was appointed by the governors. He is retiring from the board when his term expires this month.

“He has been an outstanding director,” said Bob Musso, senior vice president and branch manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, New Orleans branch. “And he’s been an outstanding ambassador for the Federal Reserve.”

Another Great Editorial in Today’s Clarion Ledger

Here is another very well reasoned editorial from our friends at the Clarion Ledger in Jackson:

Insurance: Katrina demonstrates need for bill

Fourth District U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor says he will fight again in 2008 for a bill to add wind coverage to federal flood insurance for protection from another hurricane like Katrina.

But, if so, he’s going to have to find an ally in the Senate.

The House bill, which Taylor co-sponsored, with the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., added wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program. But the wind coverage provision was not included in a bill the Senate Banking Committee approved, The Associated Press reported. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has blocked a vote by the full Senate because optional wind coverage and higher coverage limits were not included.

The Senate bill was sponsored by Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Taylor said he can understand Dodd’s objections because of the insurance interests headquartered in his state. “Shelby is the one I keep scratching my head over,” he said, because of his constituents in coastal Alabama.

Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran supports the multiple-perils bill. He should lobby his colleagues for it. Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

Taylor’s bill had already been massaged by the House to meet potential objections. Pelosi led a 13-member congressional fact-finding mission to the Coast in August. Listening to victims at a town hall meeting in Bay St. Louis, she pledged to help, but even she acknowledged: “We’re up against a mighty force (lobbying efforts of the insurance industry).”

Pelosi helped push Taylor’s “multi-peril” Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007 through the Financial Services Committee in July, and it went to the Senate with full House backing as HR3121. It would allow flood insurance policyholders to purchase wind insurance or as a stand-alone policy, and increases limits.

Catastrophic insurance for hurricanes remains a need for U.S. coastal areas nationwide, so it could – and should – be resurrected. Mississippi is not alone in facing higher insurance premiums, if it’s available.

As has been noted in www.clarionledger.com/forums under “Katrina-related issues,” home insurance rates are skyrocketing in all the nation’s coastal areas. The experience with Katrina on the Coast, still waiting for insurance and government promised relief, is evidence for HR3121.

As one reader wrote: “My husband and I chose to stay here, even though we lost everything we owned, because of his business. It cost everything we had and then some to build a new home, miles away from the water and insurance was still astronomical. But … if we waited for progress to be made down here, we would be dead.”

HR3121 should not be allowed to die. The very life of the Coast could be at stake.

HR3121 News Out Today

Folks, when Gene Taylor isn’t fighting us here on the Coast he is looking after our Mississippi boys serving in Iraq, this time bringing them 50 gallons of Tony Trapani’s best seafood gumbo for a special Christmas Eve dinner in Iraq. Now Gene is not some tin horn chicken hawk content to send other people sons and daughters to fight George Bush’s war as his own flesh and blood is on the wall for us in Middle East. God bless Gene Taylor and his service to all of us here in the Mississippi 4th congressional district.

There are two stories out today about the status of HR3121. Some local background is in order as it was clear to me back in August at Gene’s town hall meeting that the assembled democratic leadership (which included Jim Clyburn and Nancy Pelosi) saw our nation’s coastal insurance problems as a potent campaign issue. Gene may have taken the first shot today at a now locally famous GOP corporate water boy, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama.

“The Senate bill was sponsored by banking committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala. Taylor said he can understand Dodd’s objections because of the insurance interests headquartered in his state. “Shelby is the one I keep scratching my head over,” said Taylor, who thought the senator would support the measure because of his constituents in coastal Alabama.”

Now it appears the AP story picked up by the Clarion Ledger derives from Anita Lee’s story at the Sun Herald but contains a few paragraphs (the last two in this excerpt) not found in the Sun Herald piece:

“Taylor, D-Miss., who represents south Mississippi in Congress, said Wednesday that people won’t build back on the Gulf Coast until they are able to buy insurance they can depend on.

Critics of multiple-peril insurance say such a program would be financially unsound, leading to more debt on top of the $20 billion NFIP incurred from Hurricane Katrina.

Taylor said it would be better to spread hurricane risk among coastal states rather than have individual states assume those risks. Mississippi, for example, offers wind insurance for six coastal counties. Florida and other states also have wind pools.”

To date this Cowboy is not aware of one shred of evidence these “critics” have presented to support their assertion that HR 3121 would be financially unsound. Also the critics the story quotes leave out the unpleasant fact that it has been alleged that as much as $9 BILLION dollars of wind claims may have been dumped on the taxpayers via the flood program.

Down here folks when someone intentionally spreads a half truth it’s called, “pissing on your leg and saying it’s raining.” When it comes to the debate on HR3121 and it’s unnamed critics, it’s best to come to the hoe down equipped with an umbrella.