Effective solutions concerning flood and windstorm insurance for the Mississippi Gulf Coast have yet to be developed by either the federal government or private sectors following Hurricane Katrina.
That’s what the latest research conducted by the RAND Corporation reveals, and was the focus of a forum hosted Wednesday by The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast.
“Events like this really reaffirm the importance of insurance to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast,” said Dr. Tom Lansford, academic dean for Southern Miss Gulf Coast. “Our campus continues to bear the scars of Hurricane Katrina and we’re still in the process of finalizing insurance and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) arrangements, but it’s nice to showcase a facility that was rebuilt after the storm and let people know that we are moving forward and rebuilding the campus.”
“Meanwhile, rebuilding the rest of the coast is really dependent on our ability to find practical solutions to insurance issues and be able to bring people to the Coast. They need to know that housing and other types of insurance are affordable so they can come back and rebuild their lives,” he said.
The forum, co-sponsored by Southern Miss and the Gulf Coast Business Council, featured RAND’s research presentation, titled “Gulf Coast Insurance Forum: What's Wrong with the Insurance Market Along the Gulf Coast and How Do We Fix It?” and concluded with presentations from a panel of insurance experts and audience questions.
Panelists included U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana; Lenwood Brooks, legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker; Lloyd Dixon, senior economist for the RAND Corp.; Dave Treutel, president of the Treutel Insurance Agency and member of the National Flood Insurance Program Advisory Council; and Jim McDonald, independent insurance consultant and RAND Corp. contributor.
RAND’s official research study, “Residential Insurance on the U.S. Gulf Coast in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina: A Framework for Evaluating Potential Reforms,” is available at www.rand.org.
For more information about Southern Miss Gulf Coast, visit www.usm.edu/gc.