Holloway calls special meeting to resolve insurance issue

Mayor A.J. Holloway plans to call a special City Council meeting for Thursday morning at 11:30 since councilmembers failed to pass a measure this afternoon to renew the city’s property insurance, leaving the city with no property coverage at the moment.

During this afternoon’s meeting, L. Wayne Tisdale of Stewart Sneed Hewes Bancorp South, the city’s insurance broker, briefed councilmembers on a proposal endorsed by the administration that would provide insurance to include $60 million in fire coverage, $32 million in wind coverage, $6 million in flood coverage, $2.8 million in automobile coverage, and $1.7 million in equipment coverage. The policy, which was crafted from two firms who submitted proposals, would cost $1.8 million for a one-year policy.

The policy would supplement coverage provided to the city through the state’s so-called windpool insurance program and the national flood insurance program.

Last year, the city paid $940,000 for $40 million in coverage, which included $30 million in property insurance and a $10 million business-interruption policy, which is essentially not available this year.

“This is a vital issue,” Holloway said this afternoon. “As I told the councilmembers, I haven’t resolved my own property insurance issues with my insurance company, but that didn’t keep me from renewing my policy. We don’t have a lot of options on this issue, and not having insurance to protect city assets is not an option.”

Tisdale, whose firm Stewart Sneed Hewes has served as the city’s insurance broker for more than two decades, told councilmembers that he pitched the city’s insurance package to nearly two dozens insurance carriers worldwide, but only two companies submitted proposals.

He crafted a policy based on aspects of the proposals from those firms, Lexington and Landmark.

Holloway said he hopes that councilmembers would be able to vote on the measure Thursday morning. “Our situation here in Biloxi is not unique,” the mayor said. “Every local government along the Coast — in fact, every property owner along the Coast — is facing this issue. It needs to be addressed nonetheless, and sooner rather than later.”