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April 3, 2007




(Jackson, Mississippi) - Governor Haley Barbour and Commissioner of Insurance George Dale announced today that the Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association (MWUA or Wind Pool) has received $30 million in Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.


This announcement, coupled with the $20 million in state funds that came about with last week's signing of the Wind Pool Bill, will allow the state's insurer of last resort to slash commercial rates from 268% to 142%, resulting in millions of dollars in savings to policyholders. The premium reductions for commercial policies could begin as soon as next week.


In 2006, the Mississippi Insurance Department took a plan to the Governor's office to use CDBG grant funds to pay for a significant portion of the cost of reinsurance the Wind Pool was required to purchase. With their assistance, $50 million over the next two years was approved for that purpose. The $30 million, just received today, is earmarked for this year, and an additional $20 million in Federal funds for next year.


"This new infusion of money into the wind pool, coupled with the many other steps that are being taken, offers renewed confidence that we will rebuild bigger and better than ever. The ultimate goal is to re-create the private insurance market so that the wind pool isn't even necessary. I see this as a step toward that goal," said Governor Barbour.


"The arrival of these funds and the signing of the Wind Pool Bill last week are vital steps forward in continuing to help stabilize the state's insurance market that was decimated by Hurricane Katrina. Now, even more homeowners and business owners can continue the rebuilding process as wind pool rates are reduced.


“Wind Pool stability and the Legislature's willingness to work together on these issues will also help make the state a more attractive market to companies considering coming to the state to write homeowner policies and will help entice those companies that have pulled back to once again write homeowner insurance in the state," said Commissioner Dale.


Governor Barbour and Commissioner Dale are announcing their appointments to the newly formed Wind Pool Advisory Council. Governor Barbour has appointed Bay St. Louis insurance agent Dave Treutel to a one year term, Moss Point business leader Mark Cumbest to a two year term, and Union Standard Insurance Company to a one year term. Appointed to three year terms by Commissioner Dale are Allstate Insurance Company, Nationwide Insurance Company, St. Paul Traveler’s Insurance Company, and Jackson insurance agent Chris Boone.


Other members of the advisory council are State Treasurer Tate Reeves; and these appointees by Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck: Farm Bureau Insurance to a term of two years, Coast insurance agent Bobby Portwood for a term of two years, and Coast business leader Dave Dennis for a term of three years.