Sen. Trent Lott, R- Miss., has introduced a bill that would allow homeowners whose houses were destroyed or severely damaged by hurricanes Katrina and Rita to purchase retroactive flood insurance coverage.The bill is designed to fill a gap caused by the refusal of private insurance companies to pay wind damage claims because the properties were flooded. Modeled after legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., it would allow homeowners (who live outside a flood plain and were not required to have flood insurance) to receive some assistance in rebuilding their homes. "I would prefer that the insurance industry step up to the plate," Sen. Lott said. "But I will pursue every avenue for those Mississippians who have lost their homes." Under the Taylor bill, recipients qualifying for retroactive coverage would pay 10-years' worth of flood insurance premiums, plus an additional 5% penalty at closing and agree to maintain flood insurance coverage on their property. Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour is urging Congress to provide funding to help up to 50,000 homeowners in his state rebuild their homes. Homeowners who live outside designated flood zones and did not have flood insurance would be eligible for assistance under the governor's plan.

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