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Lawmakers fund Comprehensive Hurricane...

Lawmakers fund Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program for first time

By: Frank Corder - May 21, 2024

  • Allowable uses for the funding include financial grants to retrofit properties.

The Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program was established within the Mississippi Insurance Department in 2007 following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. However, appropriations were never made to fund the program. That changed this session.

HB 1705, as signed by Governor Tate Reeves (R), appropriates $5 million, transferred from the Mississippi Surplus Lines Association to the Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program Fund.

Allowable uses for the funding include financial grants to retrofit properties.

Retrofit grants of up to $10,000 can be used to encourage single-family, site-built, owner-occupied, residential property owners or commercial property owners to retrofit their properties to make them less vulnerable to hurricane damage, the legislation outlines.

According to the Insurance Department, mitigation efforts can include building at a higher elevation, adding hurricane shutters, fastening roofs to the walls with hurricane straps and buying flood insurance, among other efforts.

For every one dollar spent on mitigation, the average payback on the investment happens within 2.7 years, the Insurance Department contends adding that mitigation makes communities more resilient following catastrophic events as it can lessen loss severity and allow homeowners to get back on their feet quicker.

The Insurance Department is to issue a request for proposals to contract with a third party for the administration of the Comprehensive Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said in a statement that one of the top complaints he receives is regarding the rate increases policyholders are seeing in this “difficult market.” 

Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney

“I am certainly sympathetic to this, as I have seen rate increases on my own property as well,” Chaney said. “With funding in place, we can now do something positive and offer some relief to the policyholders in the lower six counties of the State.”

Chaney said he had asked lawmakers to extend the program statewide, since over 60% of the funding comes from outside the Coast.

“But politics blocked the expansion,” the Commissioner said. “We will continue the efforts to provide statewide benefits.”

State law requires insurance companies to give discounts for homes mitigated to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) standards. However, specific amount for discounts are not required, yet the Insurance Department notes that most insurers have filed discounts with the department ranging from 15 percent to 30 percent for those fortified homes.

With the passage of HB 1705, the Insurance Department has begun the initial phases of implementing the mitigation program, which includes developing a website dedicated to containing consumer education information and details regarding the grant application process.

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: