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Congress To Consider Renewal of Flood Insurance Program

By Rhonda Miller | Published 16 May 2011 04:18pm | comments
Gulfport attorneys Floyd Logan, left, and Jason Purvis, were both without flood insurance on their homes when Hurricane Katrina hit. Both have also worked with clients on flood insurance claims.

If the swollen Mississippi River is at your doorstep, it’s too late to buy flood insurance - it takes 30 days to go into effect. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports the national flood insurance program expires soon - and the state insurance commissioner is asking Congress for an extension.

Like many people who live near the Mississippi River or on the Gulf Coast, Jason Purvis didn’t have flood insurance. So Purvis was caught off guard when Hurricane Katrina hit.

"I lived in Bay St. Louis. I was outside the 500-year flood plain, bought my house from great-aunt and uncle, and they had ridden Hurricane Camille out in that house," Purvis said. "I made the assumption if they survived Camille, there was no way flood water was going to get to me."

He’s since moved to Gulfport and you don’t have to ask him twice if he has flood insurance.

"Absolutely. I have earthquake insurance, I have every kind of insurance you can buy on a house," Purvis said.

The National Flood Insurance Program offers affordable coverage – but it expires September 30.

Wayne Tisdale is Executive Vice President of Stewart Sneed Hewes Insurance in Gulfport.

"You know, last year when it came up for renewal, I think it was continued two or three times, and there was a time it was actually in a state of suspension," Tisdale said.

State Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said when the program is suspended, it’s a problem for those who live in areas prone to catastrophe, like the Gulf Coast or along the Mississippi River.

"National records and historical records point out the need for a stable flood insurance program in this country," Chaney said.

Chaney will be in Washington, D.C. this month with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Chaney will be asking Congress to bring stability to the National Flood Insurance Program – and to the lives of many in Mississippi doing their best to live with the uncertainly of angry seas and rising rivers.

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Gulfport attorneys Floyd Logan, left, and Jason Purvis, were both without flood insurance on their homes when Hurricane Katrina hit. Both have also worked with clients on flood insurance claims.


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