Mississippi Insurance Commissioner speaks at Rotary

Mary Rumore
Staff Writer

Mississippi Insurance Agency Mike Chaney was the program speaker during Rotary Club on Thursday.

During the program, Chaney said the Affordable Care Act is up in the air because Republicans haven’t been able to pass a bill to override it.

“It needs to be modified for it to work,” he said. “I’m not a fan of the ACA simply because I think we could have had a much cheaper insurance plan for the consumer and done it in a way that didn’t spend so much money.”

Chaney said President Trump signed an executive allowing Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 plans that allows companies to form a self-employed group and have lower insurance rates.

“For example, the state of Mississippi doesn’t have one insurance policy that it gives state employees,” he said. “There are about 95,00 state employees. We put out health insurance as a benefit, and employees can put dependents on the policies. In return, the state of Mississippi has had less than a $40 per month increase in the last 9 years and been able to hold rates down to under $430 per month.”

Chaney said companies who want to come into the state can have an ERISA plan that the state will not regulate and will provide wanted benefits, and it will be affordable to employees and the company.

“If you want new industry in your state, you must have affordable insurance available.”

Chaney said the National Flood Insurance Program renewal is on Dec. 8.

“If you do not have the ability to buy affordable flood insurance, people will leave the state of Mississippi,” he said.

Chaney said after the Gulf Coast was remapped after Hurricane Katrina and again in 2012, people who originally paid around $400 per year for flood insurance had to pay around $22,000 for flood insurance.

Chaney said he sued the federal government and won which brought flood insurance prices back down.

“The problem is the federal government is trying to control all the the competition because they want all the premuims and no competition from private industry,” he said. “We want competition because they can write a flood insurance policy for around $200 per year if done right.”

Chaney said the federal government covers over $15 billion in property value, and since 1978 has paid out around $3.2 billion.

“I think there should be a cheaper alternative for flood insurance, so that’s why we’re pushing to get private flood insurance in Mississippi,” he said.

Chaney said building codes work and keep insurance prices lower along the Gulf Coast and in Tornado Alley.

Chaney said commercial automobile insurance rates are increasing because there are more drivers on the road, fuel prices are going down and the poor conditions of the roads.