Gov. Bryant Signs Amendments to Mississippi Wind Pool Law

On April 3, 2019, Governor Phil Bryan approved House Bill 444 amending The Mississippi Windstorm Underwriting Law, more commonly referred to as the “Wind Pool” law. The Wind Pool provides windstorm and hail coverage in certain coastal counties to those who cannot find coverage in the private market. Prior to the current amendments, policies issued under the Wind Pool were limited to coverage for the actual cash value of the insured structure and contents. The amendments now allow for policies to include coverage for either the actual cash value or the replacement cost value of the insured structure and contents. In addition to allowing for replacement cost value coverage policies under the Wind Pool, the amendments seek to lower the financial burden placed on Mississippi policyholders in funding the Wind Pool. Prior to the amendments, the Wind Pool was funded, in part, by assessments – essentially, hurricane taxes – on insurers issuing policies in the state. The Wind Pool previously allowed these insurers to be reimbursed for the assessments by way of a surcharge added on all property and casualty premiums for policies issued in the state. The current amendments repeal the section of the statute allowing for reimbursement of assessments by way of surcharge, and instead specifically defines assessments to insurers which are “recoupable assessments” and “nonrecoupable assessments”, i.e., assessments which insurers can pass on to its policyholders and those which they cannot. The amendments provide that any assessment levied due to a covered event in the calendar year 2019 shall be a recoupable assessment. The amendments will take effect on July 1, 2019. Read the entire act here.