Significant flooding around the state during recent storms has brought the issue of flood insurance to the fore for many people. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports on the latest efforts to keep flood insurance affordable and accessible.
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes says, with bays, bayous, rivers and the gulf on all sides, flooding is a part of life on the Mississippi coast.
"Sometimes it's driven by a tropical depression or a hurricane, sometimes its rain events like this," he says. "And invariably you have flooding occur where it may never have occurred before."
Unlike many parts of the state, Gulfport didn’t experience much flooding over the past few days, though it wasn’t so lucky a few years ago. Hewes says flood insurance is typically affordable in areas that aren’t flood-prone – but in other spots, it can be costly.
"We’re trying to get some money from the legislature to do some FEMA re-mapping," he says. "Other states have done it with great success and changed on how they can rebuild, and more importantly, it's impacted flood insurance rates. Any time we can bring about opportunities for savings to people, particularly with respect to insurance, we need to find it."
Fourth District Congressman Steven Palazzo says there are about two and a half years before the National Flood Insurance Program has to be extended, and the House financial services committee has already been to look at ways to improve the program.
Palazzo says the Home Protection Caucus has been re-started to ensure that the federal flood insurance program remains accessible.
"It’s my job to make sure that the insurance remains affordable and available, not just here in coastal Mississippi - people in Pearl River County are affected, people in Hattiesburg are affected, and all across the nation," he says.
Palazzo, a Republican, is co-chair of the bipartisan home protection caucus along with Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana.