Barbour wants stronger construction, not wind pool

JACKSON — Gov. Haley Barbour says he prefers strengthening construction along Mississippi’s coastal counties to lower insurance rates rather than subsidizing insurance policies through the wind pool program.

“Since Katrina I have emphasized the need to build back stronger than before,” Barbour said. “Working with the insurance commissioner, we’re putting $20 million into helping people upgrade their homes, making them more hurricane resistant.”

The state has appropriated money each year since 2007 to the wind pool to help make insurance premiums more affordable. At the end of this fiscal year, the wind pool will have received $160 million from state and Community Development Block Grant funds.

Funding through a grant by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Wind Mitigation Retrofit Program would concentrate on improving roof systems with better roof-to-wall connections and hurricane straps. The program also works toward better seals on windows, doors and garages and improved roof systems, such as upgraded shingles.

The wind pool already has a discount program called the MWUA Retrofit Mitigation Program. However, the MWUA program does not pay for mitigation measures, but provides a schedule of discounts based on mitigation completed.

The Wind Mitigation Retrofit Program would subsidize the cost burden for homeowners to complete the retrofit measures to receive discounts through the wind pool and private insurance company programs.

FEMA has given the state preliminary approval for the program, and is working with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency on a final application.

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