Miss. Commissioner to Unveil Mediation Program Based on ‘Florida’s Model’

December 21, 2005

A mediation program for homeowners battling insurance companies in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will be unveiled Wednesday by George Dale, Mississippi Insurance Commissioner.

The insurance commission’s staff has researched Florida’s program for months, and a department spokesperson told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that it hopes to implement a similar program in Mississippi.

Residents in south Mississippi have complained that insurance payments are too small and that flood damage is not covered. Homeowners are surprised their coverage did not include flooding, though insurance companies excluded high-water damage in policies.

Some homeowners, including Sen. Trent Lott, are suing their insurers for coverage. Dale has said he hopes this program limits the number of lawsuits.

Under the Florida program, a consumer files a complaint, and the policyholder and insurance company have 21 days to strike a deal. If they do not agree within that time frame, the parties then meet with a mediator to settle.

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