How HHII gets the word out on its efforts

Informational Meetings

Media & Rallies

LARGE CROWD AT ORANGE BEACH ACIA COMMUNITY MEETING

The Orange Beach HHII/ACT-II Insurance informational meeting about the proposed ACIA was superb. More than 200 people showed up and stayed long. 

Charlie Angell (Al. Department of Insurance) did an excellent job explaining ACIA. Earl Janssen chaired the meeting. The audience reception was very warm.

Posted 3/23/2016

LILLIAN ACIA COMMUNITY MEETING DRAWS LARGE AUDIENCE

660 people attended the community meeting in Lillian and asked very good questions for 45 minutes. They were very supportive of the proposed Alabama Coastal Insurance Authority proposal and legislative bill. 

 

 

 

DOI IS FEELING THE GROUNDSWELL PRESSURE

The Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative  is the only citizens' group working for fairness in coastal Alabama regarding insurance premiums. 
What can YOU do to help?

*  Call, Email, or write Gov. Bentley (see post above) and your state Senator and Representative and let them know that you want the Alabama Department of Insurance (DOI) to follow the laws that require fair premiums statewide.  Click here for a guide to writing to the Governor's office and more talking points..

*  Print out this flier and give it to your friends and neighbors.

*  If you receive HHII's email 'GOUGED! Hurricanes Don't Justify our High Coastal Premiums!', forward it to as many coastal Alabama people you know.

Updated 8/12/2014

FACTS ABOUT COASTAL ALABAMA'S
HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE CRISIS

HHII has prepared this informative Power Point slideshow* to explain its two solution strategies to fix the coastal homeowners' insurance crisis.  It describes Alabama's recently enacted Clarity Law and the proposed multi-state coastal reinsurance band.

* This is a large file & may take some time to download, depending on your connection speed

Posted 5/16/2013

One Thousand Protest Homeowners Insurance at Groundswell Fish Fry

See more pictures.

A thousand people participated in the “Groundswell” fish fry Thursday at Oak Hollow denouncing high homeowners insurance premiums and learning about the unique coalition that hosted it and their strategy for fixing the crisis.

The coalition included the Baldwin County Legislative Delegation, the Baldwin County Commission, all the Baldwin County municipalities, the Baldwin County Revenue Commissioner, dozens of businesses, and Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative. Representatives of Gulf Coast grassroots groups in three other states also attended.

Democratic State Representative Napoleon Bracey, of Prichard, joined Eastern Shore Republican State Representative Joe Faust as bi-partisan co-chairmen of the multi-state initiative that tackles the high cost of reinsurance – hurricane insurance that insurance companies buy overseas. Several other Mobile legislators also attended.

Gulf Coast radio personality Uncle Henry emceed the Groundswell. Well-known national singer Angie Lewis sang the Star Spangled Banner; and ACT-II Founding Bishop Manuel Watson delivered the opening prayer.

The initiative reaches out to coastal communities in all Gulf and Atlantic states, developing a united bloc capable of capturing and better-managing the billions of dollars a year that go to overseas reinsurance companies. In the process, they hope to significantly reduce coastal homeowners insurance premiums.

“This is the most important thing I’ve done in my political career,” Faust said. “We need to keep that money in the United States and take care of ourselves.”

Many members of this coalition and those who attended the fish fry also developed the Clarity Law. State Senator Trip Pittman and a unanimous, bi-partisan push by Mobile and Baldwin legislators got it passed during the 2012 legislative session.

“Considering all the hail and tornadoes in upstate Alabama, thousands of people down here wonder if the coastal counties really are 300 to 600 per cent more expensive to repair than the state average,” HHII founding member Earl Janssen said. “The Clarity Law requires that the aggregate claims data be collected for the first time in Alabama history, and published online November 1.” Janssen and HHII developed the initial Clarity Law strategy.

Learn more about the Clarity Law and the proposed multi-state coastal reinsurance band  below or contact Michelle Kurtz of HHII, at 928-3430.

Revised 6/22/2013

HHII ADDRESSES FORT MORGAN CIVIC ASSOCIATION

Michelle made a 30-minute presentation with a follow up Q&A session to the Fort Morgan Civic Assosciation on Monday, November 12th, 2012

Posted 10/13/2012

BALDWIN COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SEE
HHII'S POWERPOINT PRESENTATION

HHII showed the Insurance Facts PowerPoint presentation at the Baldwin County Commission meeting on August 28, 2012. Their reception was excellent. The Commissioners had not seen the data that we presented them any where else. 

This presentation gives the evidence of a bias in the Alabama DOI against the Southern Counties and was repeated at the Baldwin County Commission public meeting and carried on local TV on October 16th.

The presentation was also shown to the Fairhope City Council on September 10, where it had a similar reception.

Posted 10/20/2012

ADDRESSING THEODORE HHII

Press Register copyright picture

Michelle Kurtz, All Churches Together/Homeowners' Hurricane Insurance Initiative consultant delivers a presentation during a meeting of the Homeowners' Hurricane Insurance Initiative group at Theodore First Baptist Church in Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in Theodore, Ala.

See Press-Register, G.M. Andrews picture
See more pictures

Posted 4/18/2012

This page is still being developed.  Additional information can be found here.

Work Group Publicity

Since the Work Group is still in flux, we don't know if Gov. Bentley is our hero or not. It is kind of hard to carve out our message and our timeline for launching a media campaign. But we agree that we need to meet with all the media people. We specifically want to have a subcommittee - social media - which we hope will convene before May 28th. The status of the work group should shake out between now and May 28th.

PS. Jerry Bergman landed a radio interview for the Foley station, WHEP. Many thanks Rev. Jerry! Jerry will be interviewed on Friday and it will be edited and aired at a later date.

Posted 6/7/2015

Michelle Kurtz recognized

Michelle is featured on a Time Money webpage. Even though Michelle explained over and over how the work of HHII is carried out by hundreds of adult volunteers, they would not let her submit a group photo. YOU all are the HEROES!!

Posted 7/4/2014

HHII'S MICHELLE KURTZ INTERVIEWED ON FOX 10 TV

Michelle Kurtz with the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative told FOX10 News a new law called the Clarity Law has brought transparency to home insurance rates in Alabama and they hope to use the numbers to bring down the high rates in the coastal counties.

Watch the whole interview & read transcript here

Posted 3/27/2014

HHII FEATURED IN ANOTHER WSJ ARTICLE

A January 3, 2013, Wall Street Journal article by Valerie Bauerlein and Leslie Scism on Southeast homeowners concern that hurricane coverage costs too much included the following about HHII.

A coastal Alabama church-based group called the Homeowners' Hurricane Insurance Initiative is lobbying against rates they say are rising so quickly they are causing foreclosures among working-class people and retirees on fixed incomes. "It's a justice issue," coordinator Michelle Kurtz said.

Ms. Kurtz, a preacher's wife, said the average Alabama homeowner pays $870 a year in premiums on a house valued at $150,000. The policy on her $150,000 house in coastal Baldwin County is $3,300 a year, up from $1,200 before Katrina.

In May, the Alabama Legislature required insurers to publicize the number of policies issued, premiums charged and amounts paid in claims, searchable by ZIP Code. The Alabama homeowners contend that coastal residents are paying steeper rates than parts of the state hit by a spate of tornadoes that left widespread damage in 2011. The database isn't yet available to check that claim.

Insurance Commissioner Jim L. Ridling said he sympathizes with coastal residents and has worked with them on measures such as requiring insurers to offer discounts to homes that meet certain standards. But he said homeowners must face reality. "The tornadoes were the largest single catastrophe in Alabama's history in terms of dollars," he said. "But it was one event compared to 10 hurricanes in 15 years."

Read complete article here (Requires subscription)

Posted 8/15/2013

POST COURIER STORM OF MONEY SERIES FEATURES HHII

HHII is featured in Charleston, SC, Post Courier's ongoing Storm of Money series covering hurricanes, insurance and the black boxes that determine how much you pay.

Excerpts from 1/13/2013 article:

In southern Alabama, after discovering that home insurance was the community’s most pressing concern, churches formed the Homeowners’ Hurricane Insurance Initiative. Kurtz, the group’s coordinator, said volunteers have since done more than 3,000 interviews. “Families are going under, and older people are losing the dignity of peaceful retirements.” The group organized meetings that drew hundreds of angry residents; ministers grabbed front seats in public hearings. The organization’s most recent success was a push for a state “clarity bill” that forces insurers to supply data on claim payments and premiums by ZIP code. The state will create a database that could identify whether residents in some areas of the state are getting soaked by high premiums. “The industry swears it’s losing its shirt, but let’s see the figures.”

What happened in this small town along the Gulf Coast is far from unique. Spurred by rising premiums and tens of thousands of policy cancellations, a diverse collection of grass roots groups from South Carolina to Louisiana to Massachusetts are taking on the well-oiled insurance industry. Their goal is to level what they say is a playing field tilted in favor of insurance Goliaths. “These groups have a tremendous amount of passion and dedication,” said Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, one of the few national groups that represent consumers on insurance-related issues. “But they’re up against an incredibly sophisticated industry that lives in the halls of the legislatures in their states every day, plays golf with regulators and has an army of lawyers.” Every year, the U.S. insurance industry collects about $1 trillion from its customers, about $160 billion more than the federal defense budget. Home, auto and other insurance casualty business make up about $440 billion of the overall insurance pie.

Read complete article.

Posted 1/21/2013

HHII NEWS RELEASE

For immediate release – July 9, 2011

Representatives of the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative (HHII), the faith-based, grassroots political group that has fought for more affordable property insurance, today thanked the Governor for appointing one of their members, Michelle Kurtz, to the Governor’s Commission on Insurance.

HHII had been promised representation when it met with the Governor on Feb. 16, Janssen said and we are grateful to be able to serve.

“In Baldwin and Mobile counties, at least 52 thousand homes are now without wind and hail protection because insurance companies have been allowed to simply walk away from this protection while dramatically raising rates in coastal counties for fire and theft insurance, said Janssen. After the disaster up north with the tornados we want to be double sure we work together for lasting solutions.

“Voters are tired of being prey for wealthy insurance interests,” he said.

“In the past, most appointees to insurance commissions have been foxes in the homeowner henhouse. Although outnumbered and outspent, HHII will fight to assure the Commission serves citizens, not lobbyists” said Janssen.”

“The insurance industry lobby has been able to distinguish itself as the only business, except baseball, without the consumer protections of federal anti-trust laws. They can legally collude to set prices and selling conditions. HHII will endeavor to work so that insurance returns to its original vocational calling in society – to provide a future and a hope!” Janssen said.

Janssen stressed that the efforts of the homeowners group are aimed at reducing premiums of all Alabamians, significant reduction of premiums, a sustainable solution, which includes mitigation and just payment of claims.

“Increasingly, minorities, the poor and the middle class are forced out of the home ownership market because of unjustified insurance cancellations driven by greed and/or an incompetent business models,” he said.

“In particular, the poor, working poor and middle class are threatened. Soon, only the uninsured wealthy who can afford to lose their homes to fire, flood or tornados will live in these areas of Alabama. This is an unacceptable disruption in the Alabama economy that must be addressed in the Governor’s upcoming special session on insurance reform.

“Unless the excesses of the virtually unregulated insurance factions are mitigated by legislative action, jobs in our state soon will be in even bigger trouble than they are now.

“Already, we have seen the unfair pricing heaped on Alabama homeowners on the coast, with premium increases often quadrupling over only a few years. This can’t continue to accelerate and we would hate to see this happen to the tornado survivors,” Janssen said.

HHII goals are significant reduction of premiums, a sustainable solution and just payment of claims.

 Posted 7/9/2011

HURRICANE SEASON OPENS JUNE 1.  ARE YOU INSURED?

Text of 6/1/2011 state-wide press release .

??? DID YOU KNOW ???

Click here to learn more insurance facts

WHAT YOU CAN DO

It's time to fix the inequities.  Click here to learn what YOU can do.

Updated 7/9/2011

HHII FEATURED ON CHANNEL 5 NEWS

Bill Riales interviews the Wallaces and Michelle Kurtz and headlines how HHII seeks legislative remedies, and support from property owners.  Click here to read full transcript and watch video clip.

Posted 3/23/2011

HHII GETS MESSAGE OUT

Michelle Kirtz was a guest on the Uncle Henry radio show February 16, 2011.

HHII members have spoken to a number of groups, including:

  • Optimist Club

  • League of Women Voters

  • Pleasure Island Ministerial Alliance

  • Gulf Shores Prebyterian Church

HHII had a tent at recent Pecan Festival in Theodore during November.  HHII needs many more volunteers to participate in rally events. 

Sarah Harris recorded her insurance story on the StoryCorps project, which archives interviews in the Library of Congress.

Updated 2/16/2011

HHII Rally (3/27/10) spotlights insurance reform

Read story at BaldwinCountyNOW.com;
Read Part 2;
Read article in 3/30 Baldwin Register

Original post

Listen to WABF interview HHII members
Betty Gurley & Tom Lantz

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HHII members interviewed on Fox 10 news 3/3/10

Read transcript of Fox 10 broadcast

Original post

HHII Makes Front Page News. 

Read 10/24 Mobile Press register articles at
Political leaders taking heat & Proposing own insurance bills

Original post

This page last modified 6/4/2016