The average cost to insure a home in Mobile and Baldwin Counties is eleventy billion dollars, if you can find an insurer. Central and North Alabama are facing the same types of issues in the wake of the recent devastating tornadoes, so this is about more than ‘coastal insurance reform’. Insurance reform may get addressed in a special session of the legislature, if not, it will certainly be a top issue in the next legislative session.
Governor Dr. Robert Bentley just named the members of the Affordable Homeowners Insurance Commission, led by Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell (R). Huntsville is represented on the commission by Wayne Parker and State Farm agent Joe Demos. Some interesting appointments include K. Carl Smith (The conservativeMessenger) and Michelle Kurtz (Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative). State Senator Ben Brooks (R – Mobile), State Representative Mike Hill (R – Columbiana), and State Representative Steve McMillan (R – Gulf Shores) are on the commission – presumably to sponsor legislation incorporating the results of the Commission’s efforts.
I spoke with Representative McMillan last week after his fishing trip and he said that insurance reform was his top legislative priority. The GOP legislature passed a couple of bills this year to ”create a tax deduction for strengthening homes against hurricanes and tornadoes, set up an Insurance Department trust fund for retrofitting homes, and require that insurers publicly disclose information when they ask regulators for rate changes.”