Windpool: Coast insurer loses a boost

Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed a bill Monday that would have extended a law that allows part of the state insurance premium tax to go to prop up the so-called Wind Pool insurance on the Gulf Coast.

The Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Association Reinsurance Assistance Fund, known as the Windpool, is a state funded insurer of last resort for those who cannot obtain private insurance.

It covers more than 42,000 Mississippians and that number has been growing monthly.

After Hurricane Katrina, reinsurance, which backs insurance, increased dramatically. The state has been subsidizing the Windpool by diverting $20 million annually to defray the cost of reinsurance, lowering the risk for insurance companies writing policies in Mississippi. That helped reduce insurance premiums on the Coast.

Last summer, Windpool rates were reduced by 11 percent.