|By Gina Smith, The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
It's been nearly a year since
Their work is finally getting some attention -- and legislative traction.
Davis hopes to introduce a bill soon.
Statewide, premiums have risen 71 percent during the last decade and are nearly three times higher than in 1996.
In fact, Ferguson says even though the state's coast, particularly in
"It's a serious, serious problem. It's a crisis," said Ferguson, a retired
AND A DRAG ON SALES
Inflated rates damage Lowcountry home sales and the area's economy in general, according to
"This perceived threat of hurricanes affects tourism and home buyers because people are afraid there is more hurricane risk than there actually is," he said, offering examples of clients who have hesitated to move to the area and retirees who have settled elsewhere because of high premiums.
Attempts Thursday and Friday to reach Farmer for comment were unsuccessful. However, his spokeswoman,
"Director Farmer and the department are not only concerned about reducing the cost of coastal property insurance, but are also concerned about the availability of coastal property insurance," she said.
Farmer told senators during his confirmation hearing that premiums matched the risks being assumed by insurance companies. Later, however, he said he would make rate reduction a priority.
A spokesman for Gov.
STATE'S STOP-GAP MEASURE
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many insurance companies either substantially increased premiums for wind-damage coverage or stopped writing such policies altogether in states considered to be prone to hurricanes.
To help residents find coverage,