Hurricane Insurance

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A panel examining the insurance industry in the wake of hurricanes in Alabama has made several recommendations. They include giving policyholders a longer notice when policies are being changed or canceled.

The Hurricane Insurance Issues Task Force appointed by the governor favors a new regulation that would force insurers to give 60 days' notice, twice the current requirement -- to policyholders whose hurricane insurance will change or be canceled.

Insurance department officials said a five-page list of wind damage insurers is available through local real estate agents, chambers of commerce, legislative offices and homebuilders.

The group also called for a push to pass a captive insurance law that many other states already have in place. Such a law would allow businesses to essentially create their own insurance companies.

Task force members want the department provide better information about the process for filing and settling claims by hosting town-hall-style meetings, creating Web sites, offering public service announcements and mass-mailing brochures.

Alabama Insurance Commissioner Walter Bell said the task force will likely meet once more to discuss how different building codes might affect insurance rates.