Gov. Robert Bentley has created a commission to study coastal insurance issues in Alabama. This is a prelude to a Special Session of the Legislature that the Governor has promised for later this year to address this most serious problem. Governor Bentley stated:
The lack of affordable homeowners’ insurance for people who live on Alabama’s coast impacts the entire state, far beyond the coastal communities. We must stop the rising cost of coastal insurance for the benefit of all Alabamians.
Gov. Bentley will appoint seven members of the commission, which will be “a diverse pool.” The insurance panel of the Coastal Recovery Commission of Alabama — the oil spill recovery group — made more than 30 recommendations to restructure coastal insurance. The Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative, a group of residents in Mobile and Baldwin counties, wants insurers to reveal a history of premiums that they’re collecting and losses that they’re paying out, broken down by ZIP code. That certainly seems reasonable.
State Sen. Ben Brooks, R-Mobile, who has become a real leader in the state Senate, has introduced seven bills that would definitely improve the current situation. He says insurers are using the pledge of a later Special Session to delay action in the ongoing Regular Session. The bill comes out of a Senate committee and, at press time, we were awaiting action by the full Senate. Senator Brooks supports the Governor’s commission and he had this to say:
The Governor is new to office, and I believe the Governor is committed to insurance reform. I believe that this is part of his effort to evaluate proposed solutions and bring this issue to a head in the fall.
Individuals and businesses in our coastal counties need to have access to good, affordable insurance coverage. If you agree with that assessment let members of your legislative delegation know and ask them to help get the needed legislation passed. You might also let Gov. Bentley and Sen. Brooks know you appreciate their efforts.
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