R.I. Summit Highlights Need for Coastal Insurance Solutions

July 6, 2005

Concern over insurance for coastal properties is mounting in Rhode Island, where markets are tight despite the fact that no hurricane beyond a category 1 has hit since Hurricane Carol in 1954.

Some 30 Rhode Island lawmakers, regulators and industry representatives gathered last week to guard against markets getting worse in the short term and pledge to work for a long term solution.

They made their pledge at a seminar hosted by the Independent Agents of Rhode Island.

“The goal of this seminar and the main reason there was such a great turnout, was to assure that consumers have a market to purchase insurance now and in the future,” said Dennis Charland, executive director of IIARI.

Myron Mitchell, of the Insurance Center in Warwick, said the forum was a start to keeping markets open. “Although the coverage is available at this time, we held this forum to take the necessary steps to assure the market in Rhode Island continues to be able to write coastal coverage,” he said.

Judy Jackson, president of New London County Mutual, facilitated a discussion, which elicited ideas including special deductibles, establishment of a catastrophe fund, and public education programs.

Jackson said that the main goal for the short term is to do no harm to the market as it currently stands. For a longer term solution, she hoped to obtain a commitment by the 30 invited participants to work towards a long term solution.

The Governor’s Insurance Council has now set up a task force to further research this issue. IIARI’s Charland and Sandy Parrillo, president of Providence Mutual, agreed to serve as co-chairs.

Jack Golembeski, president of the R.I. Fair Plan, also participated in the seminar.

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