Insurance overhaul on deathbed Several bills hung up in committee

Several bills South Mississippi lawmakers submit annually in response to insurance issues discovered after Hurricane Katrina are poised to die Tuesday without debate in legislative committees.

Each year, Coast lawmakers submit various versions of the “policyholders bill of rights” designed to protect homeowners in the event they file an insurance claim and also measures removing the “anti-concurrent causation” clause, which insurance companies used to deny payment of wind damage claims in cases where they said water also played a role. Court cases and insurance law experts have said the clauses don’t apply to hurricanes because the two weather events cause different kinds of damages.

Lawmakers said late last week they would be working to get the bills out of committee before the deadline. Though he isn’t a member of the Senate Insurance Committee, Sen. David Baria, D-Bay St. Louis, who has filed several insurance reform bills in each of his three years as a lawmaker, said South Mississippians have reason to be upset that the bills usually die in committee without even a discussion. If they don’t clear committees Tuesday, they will be considered dead again this year because of a legislative deadline.

Sun Herald
2/1/10