Coast Mayors Discuss Coastal Insurance Rates in Washington D.C.

High wind and flood insurances rates are something Coast residents have been dealing with since Hurricane Katrina.
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes and Biloxi Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich have just returned from Washington D.C. where they addressed insurance issues on behalf of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Coast residents have been paying exorbitant insurance rates since Hurricane Katrina and Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes says it’s hurting our economy. “It’s difficult to get and when you get it, it’s expensive and it’s impacting our ability to fully rebuild,” said Mayor Hewes.
Mayor Hewes tells News 25 he believes any long term fix is going to have to come from the federal government. Last week he, along with Biloxi Mayor Gilich, traveled to our nation’s capital to address the lingering issue with not only our coastal delegation in Washington D.C., but also members of committees that deal with flood issues.
Mayor Gilich said, “It was a great team effort. It was a lot of folks from the insurance industry, so we covered a lot of ground together with a lot of people.”
The two coast mayors say one of the first steps to eventually lowering rates is to address the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which aims to require flood insurance premiums to actually reflect the real risk of flooding. The act will need reauthorization in 2017. Right now, residents are protected by a grandfathering system where if the required standards they built to change, they will not be penalized, which is something Mayor Hewes says had to be fought for. “We don’t want to get into an emergency situation in 2017. We want the grandfathering to become permanent and then move forward and try to expand the scope of the program.”
Gilich and Hewes say it’s important to start this conversation early and have it often so it won’t be forgotten when the time comes around. Although lowering rates was brought up last week, the two mayors says when the grandfathering system becomes finalized, then we can continue talks about how to pursue lowering insurance rates that greatly affect our residents.
While in Washington D.C., the two coast mayors also talked to our delegation about the need for a new gate at Keesler Air Force Base as well as transportation issues.

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