Walt Bennetti of the Gulf Coast/East Coast Coalition visited NewsTalk 96.5 KPEL yesterday and spoke with Ken Romero and Dr. John Sutherlin to discuss flood insurance rates, the Biggert-Waters Act and the coalition he represents.

According to Bennetti,

The Gulf Coast/East Coast Coalition is a group of citizens in 17 states stretching from Maine to Florida on the East Coast and Florida to Texas on the Gulf Coast.  We have two primary goals.  A short and a long-term goal.  Our short-term goal is to get the Louisiana Legislature this spring to pass a bill called The Clarity Act.  We think the Clarity Act will mandate that the Louisiana Department of Insurance post insurance premiums and claims data on-line in a searchable format so consumers and business owners can see the amount of premiums collected and claims paid by zip code and by parish.

When asked to explain the Coalition's long-term goal Bennetti said,

The longer term objective is called the Coastal Band and again that involves the 17 states coming together to form a non-profit entity that will collect the wind and flood insurance premiums and be consumer friendly.  By being a non-profit what we're going to do is set up like a cooperative where we establish how much money we need to save as a 'backstop' for any storms.  Whatever is left after that amount each year consumers will get rebated back to them in the form of a direct-check or discount on their next year's flood insurance and wind insurance premiums.  Something that's not happening now.

We asked Bennetti if he could give an example of how the Clarity Act could benefit consumers, he said,

 

In Baldwin County, Alabama which is along the coast next to Mobile where Foley Outlet Mall is and Gulf Shores.  A county that is smaller than Lafayette Parish.  From the period of 2006 to 2012 insurance companies collected $667 million in wind,flood and homeowners insurance premiums.  Yet they only paid out $115 million back in claims.  So the insurance industry made $550 million in profit from that county alone.  Which is smaller than Lafayette.  When you factor that out over the Coastal Band throughout the 17 states the insurance companies are making money hand over fist.They don't want people to know that in Acadiana the amount of premiums they pay might be 'X' and they're getting so much less back in return for claims.

To hear all of the discussion click on the blue arrow below: