Coast insurance market poses unique problems
Your staff writer, Becky Gillette, did an excellent job of accurately communicating the critical importance of maintaining a market for homeowners insurance in the Gulf Coast region in her recent article, “Hurricane-prone Coast hit with rate hike,” March 23, 1998.
The mission of the Mississippi Insurance Department is to create an environment conducive to a competitive marketplace for the sale of insurance products and services while creating the highest degree of economic security, quality of life, public safety and fire protection for Mississippi’s citizens at the lowest possible cost.
Unfortunately, this sometimes means granting a rate increase when availability of property/casualty insurance in a given area is at stake. Across the country, insurance companies are reviewing their exposure in disaster-prone areas. If Gulf Coast residents were to one day find themselves without coverage, their only recourse would be Mississippi’s “wind pool,” where rates are three times as high and coverage is less.
Fortunately, in this instance, we were able to negotiate a rate increase far lower than those experienced by residents in neighboring states such as Alabama. Importantly, the Gulf Coast economic boom will not be impeded by unavailability of insurance.
For the next couple of years at least, higher property/casualty insurance rates will be an unfortunate fact of life on the Gulf Coast, In the meantime, let’s hope there are no more hurricanes there anytime soon.
Commissioner George Dale, Mississippi Insurance Department, Jackson
The pros and cons of the Promise Keepers
This is an article that I wrote for our church newsletter, which you should find of interest:
Promise Keepers say they want to make families strong and loving units, capable of nurturing the caring citizens we so need today. But their view of women and how a family should be structured dooms them to fall short of this goal. They fail to address directly the roots of the crisis in the family. The focus of Promise Keepers is on shoring up the traditional family, in which the wife is economically dependent upon her husband and assumes the responsibility for care-giving and housekeeping. But it is the failure of this hierarchical model, inappropriate for a partnership of equals, which is behind today’s moral crisis. Families built on hierarchy, rigid discipline and dependence often are of an authoritarian mold, in which the man’s preferences and opinions are expected to have more weight than those of the woman. Such a family does not inspire the same creative energies and dedication as families based on a loving partnership of equal adults. Also, economic necessity and fear should not be the ties that bind; when they are, the price paid is high. Do Promise-Keepers support women’s right to economic security? In the family, tremendous synergy will be unleashed when each spouse has access to a family wage, when the tasks of care-giving are shared and when the community supports work and dependent care arrangements that back up parents’ efforts.
It is true that the wife of a Promise Keeper can take some comfort from the commitment her husband makes in joining the movement. Consider Sue, a typical wife with two children in school and a part-time job. Like all women entering into marriage, she deeply desires a relationship free of the physical abuse, infidelity and other problems that threaten many couples. Promise Keepers may help in this. But Sue has other concerns. She knows that if her marriage should fail, the income she could get on her own wouldn’t be sufficient for her to keep the house or the car, and most likely, the job wouldn’t provide health care coverage for herself and the kids (women earn only about 73