U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) will host an Insurance Roundtable at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gulfport on Thursday, April 8…The Insurance Roundtable, which will be open to the public, will take place on Thursday, April 8 at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Jefferson Davis Campus from 9am to 12pm. (directions on the linked MGCCC website)
The Senator has assembled an impressive group of experts and, according to the press release issued by his office, and “will lead a discussion of specific proposals aimed at resolving the unique insurance challenges facing Gulf Coast residents and small businesses.” h/t Anita Lee’s blog
Among the presenters are Professors Howard Kunrether and Erwann Michel-Kerjan from the Risk Management and Decision Process Center at the Wharton School-University of Pennsylvania. The audience will also hear presentations by U.S. Congressman Gene Taylor; Dr. Lloyd Dixon, an economist with the RAND Corporation; and Greg Toczydlowski, President of Personal Insurance for Travelers.
The Senator says he hopes to hear ideas from a wide range of interested persons including community leaders, elected officials, and scholars, as well as representatives of the real estate, housing, and insurance industries.
“I am hoping for an open dialogue that might result in lower insurance costs and better coverage for the Gulf Coast,” said Wicker. “There is no question that one of the most difficult obstacles in recovering from Hurricane Katrina—or preparing for the next storm—has been the cost and availability of insurance. Nearly five years after the storm, the process of rebuilding is ongoing. The recovery process is being stifled for many families and businesses who cannot afford the coverage they need. In some cases, insurance is simply unavailable.”
“The Insurance Roundtable will provide a forum for exploring a variety of approaches to solve this problem. I believe this discussion will be very beneficial as we determine the best way to move forward. I hope this can lead to a formal plan that can work for the people and be passed in Congress,” Wicker said.
What’s unclear at this point is who “the people” are that Wicker and his panel of experts want “a formal plan” to “work for” – all but Congressman Taylor seem to be aligned with the insurance industry (and we know who his “people” are). There’s no question Wicker’s panel is truly a “panel of experts” as the links to the panel members and/or the organizations represents are the result of my research.
However, the experts I value most are those at what is typically called the “grassroots” level – and we’ve got plenty of grass on the Coast, some of the tallest where homes stood prior to Katrina.
There is no greater distance, in my opinion, than that from the “ivory towers” of research to the “grassroots”. What we need to do is bridge that distance with information on the role insurance plays in the lives of those who live and work at the “grassroots”.
Senator Wicker is making that possible by opening the Roundtable to the public. It’s up to you – go to the Roundtable well-prepared or be squared right out of the plan.