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Insurance Options Increasing

Especially for Fortified Homes

Sun Herald - 04/26/12 
By Anita Lee

Traditional insurance companies are for the most part still avoiding coastal risks, but a few companies new to the Coast market are writing wind coverage for well-built homes near the waterfront, as are insurance carriers that are not licensed in Mississippi.

“There are definitely more options now,” said Angelyn Treutel, an independent insurance agent who is vice president of the agency South Group Insurance Gulf Coast. “Many more companies have come into the area.”

One of the newest is state-licensed PURE insurance, offering coverage for fortified, higher-priced homes. PURE insures homes valued at $750,000 or more that meet construction standards. They must be elevated above the 100-year flood plain; have roofs firmly attached to walls; and have shuttered windows or openings that can be covered for hurricanes. Higher-priced homes built after 2006 generally qualify because more-stringent building codes were put into place after Hurricane Katrina, but older homes fortified against hurricane damage may qualify based on an engineer’s inspection, said PURE COO Martin Hartley.

Hartley said the company offers discounts for hurricane fortification measures, with premium costs 20 to 40 percent below standard market rates.

“People who take these steps are going to be better off after a storm,” Hartley said. “Insurance companies should reflect that in premium savings. We are ahead of the curve.”

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