Campaign 2010

Oct 27, 2010

Palazzo Sells Out to Big Insurance Companies

State Representative Steven Palazzo is funding his campaign for Congress with thousands from the same big insurance industries that have driven up homeowners insurance rates by up to 300 percent since Katrina and have a stranglehold on the Mississippi economy. Palazzo has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the insurance industry, including State Farm Insurance, despite their massive increases in insurance costs in recent years. Palazzo’s primary opponent who received nearly 45 percent of the primary vote recently refused to endorsed Palazzo and backed Taylor.

“It’s increasingly clear that Stephen Palazzo won’t stand up for South Mississippi, he’ll stand up for the big insurance companies who have been raising insurance costs since Katrina hit,” said Jennifer Crider, Communications Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike know that Palazzo’s campaign is funded by the same insurance industry that will write his agenda if he goes to Congress. Anyone hoping that electing Palazzo will give Mississippi a representative who will fight against 200-300 percent increases in insurance rates will be sorely disappointed. Voters deserve an independent voice who will stand up for them, not a stooge for big insurance who is only looking out for their bottom line at Mississippians’ expense.”

Background

Palazzo has taken over $5,000 from the insurance industry, $2,000 of which is from State Farm Insurance employees, including an insurance agent from State Farm’s local office in Gulfport, Mississippi. [OpenSecrets, accessed 10/27/10; FEC.gov, accessed 10/27/10]

Insurance Companies Doubled or Tripled Rates After Katrina. “Homeowners insurance rates skyrocketed in Mississippi's coastal counties when the clean up started in after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005. […] In some cases, Gulf Coast residents were forced to pay 200 percent to 300 percent more than before for insurance. […] Before Katrina, Mississippi Coast residents paid on average $952 a year on a $100,000 insurance policy. Now, for people living between Interstate 10 and the beach, the cost is twice that -- $1,869 a year. For the Jackson area, the average is now about $1,050 a year.” [WDSU, 8/27/10]

The cost and available of property insurance in MS is a “stranglehold” on the economy. “State Farm stopped writing property policies in parts of coastal Mississippi in 2008, and that same year rate increases of 33 percent to 48.5 percent on the coast were approved from a 2006 filing. An increase of 19.5 percent was filed and approved last year.” [Mississippi Press, 8/30/10]

Palazzo’s primary opponent – a self-described tea party activist - refused to endorse him and, instead, endorsed Representative Gene Taylor. [AP, 10/26/10]