Chaney: State insurance stable with exception of health insurance 2020 has been one for the record books by many measures, including weather disasters that caused massive damage to business and home owners among others. The record-breaking hurricane season brought wind, rain and flooding from Hurricanes Laura in August and Zeta in November to counties on the Coast and the midsection of the state. There was major flooding along the Pearl River in February and destructive tornadoes to the Pine Belt in the spring. And, maybe to no one’s surprise, a couple of earthquakes shook parts of Mississippi, prompting the state Insurance Department in September to post a link on its website explaining earthquake deductibles. Still, longtime Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney described things as fairly stable in the Mississippi insurance market except for uncertainty surrounding health care coverage hinging on the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act. official source Chaney predicts the Supreme Court will rule that the law is constitutional. There also are some challenges with holding commercial auto insurance rates steady, Chaney said, but most Mississippians should not see their rates rise much, if at all, in the coming year.  “Next year there will be very little if any rate increase except for the windpool,” he said, adding that some insurers are asking to raise their rates. “Statewide, we’re seeing increase requests in pockets of Desoto County and around Hattiesburg.” Driving the rate increase requests are increased housing in Desoto County and potential damage from pine trees in the Hattiesburg area. In addition, Chaney said, poor fire ratings in rural areas result in higher premiums. He blames the Legislature for not funding the rural fire truck program. “We’ve done just about everything we can do to alleviate those problems.  This is a big issue for the whole state of Mississippi.” The windpool, officially the Mississippi WindstormUnderwriting Association, is a private entity sanctioned by the state as the insurer of last resort for Coast residents seeking wind and hail coverage.



After a recommendation from prosecutors, Magistrate Judge Kent Gauchay placed Lomeli on a year of probation and suspended a 60-day jail sentence. If Lomeli violates his probation he may have to fulfill his jail sentence. RELATED | Second man charged in theft of construction equipment Investigators said Lomeli helped Ryan Hilliard steal a skidsteer from a construction company in October 2018. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Lomeli, who was employed by Hilliard, told detectives Hilliard asked him to pick up the skidsteer, which he claimed was his, and take it to Ultimate Construction’s shop. In reality, the piece of machinery was owned by Bybee Construction. Hilliard, the owner of Ultimate Construction, was sentenced to spend between 18-months and up to 10 years in prison after a jury convicted him of felony grand theft in February. Text messages between Lomeli and Hilliard showed them speaking about exchanging money for “the cat,” according to court documents. In an interview with detectives, Hilliard told police he bought the equipment for $24,000 from Lomeli. Lomeli said he did not know he was stealing the skidsteer. RELATED | Contractor sent to prison for theft of expensive equipment Lomeli told investigators he noticed a post on social media about the stolen skidsteer, leading him to confront Hilliard. During the confrontation, Lomeli claims Hilliard offered him $5,000 to stay quiet about the theft.