Parts of Jackson considered ‘high risk’ for insurance coverage due to crime

State’s insurance commissioner says risk assessment changed in the last few years
Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 8:56 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some insurance companies won’t issue policies to business owners in parts of Jackson because they’ve been designated “high risk” due to the city’s high crime rate, according to the state’s insurance commissioner.

At the same time, recent burglaries in the Capital City also have some business owners on edge because they fear they may lose what insurance coverage they have.

“Medgar Evers is the one where a lot of stuff happens. You know, this is not the first time we had a break-in, and, you know, we have several break-ins. And every time we do a claim, you know, it goes against you,” said Ricky Singh, who owns several gas stations in Jackson.

Last week, thieves smashed their way into his business with a stolen backhoe, stealing cigarettes and lottery tickets.

The last three times he’s been burglarized, Singh said he had to pay the cost himself to avoid filing a claim.

“If I was to do another claim, I know for a fact they would cancel my insurance,” Singh said.

Singh said he gets his insurance from State Farm, and the premium is double what he has to pay for a gas station in Ridgeland, because Jackson’s crime rate factors into whether insurance companies will offer coverage.

“Many carriers are refusing to write what we call casualty insurance for the small businesses that are constantly broken into or robbed at gunpoint, because you just can’t, there’s no way to cover all the losses,” Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said.

Chaney said the risk assessment from these companies changed over the last few years, with insurance providers using their own claims database and other crime statistics to make that call.

The information those companies use also paints a different picture of the Capital City than the administration and police department have in recent years.

The most up-to-date crime statistics released by JPD date back to July 2020, according to the city’s own website.

“Especially with the recent elections, some of the companies have said, ‘Well, are we looking at continuation of crime? Because it’s all happened under one administration.’ I don’t mean that as a criticism, that’s just a fact,” Chaney said. “That’s what the companies say. And it’s their prerogative to say we’re not gonna write any more insurance in Jackson.”

Chaney said he’s hopeful the administration and legislators can work together to reduce crime in the Capital City.

He said some insurance companies won’t even insure businesses unless they agree to certain provisions like extra security.

“Stores have had to resort to her own security, private security keep the store safe, at addition to having 24-hour guards at the stores. That costs some money. And that way, they can still get insurance,” Chaney said.

That’s not an option for Singh, whose Southland Grocery and Gas location has been in his family for generations.

“We’re the ones who are working hard to provide for the community and take care of the elderly, people that have been shopping with us for the longest time,” Singh said. “That’s the very reason that we are in Jackson, you know?”

Not all of Jackson is considered high risk.

Chaney said North Jackson isn’t, but areas of Eastover, Belhaven, Fondren and other parts of the city are.

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