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Some Gulf Coast homeowners get insurance options

Small insurers offering options to some coastal Alabama, Mississippi homeowners

Associated Press - 01/10/11

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- A handful of new insurers have entered the coastal markets of Alabama and Mississippi, offering options to some homeowners.

Coastal American, PURE, American Strategic, Wilshire, Republic and Southern Fidelity may not increase competition enough to lower prices. Still, the appearance of new carriers means a few thousand policyholders could have more options at a time when options for wind coverage have been dwindling.

In Alabama, insurers have announced plans to cancel wind coverage for more than 50,000 policyholders since 2004's Hurricane Ivan. Farmers Insurance Group, Allstate Corp. and Alfa Mutual group are in the process of making significant cuts.

Just last week in Mississippi, officials discovered that USAA was dropping wind coverage on 1,550 policies in the three southernmost counties.