"My door remains open to them," Bentley said.
Bentley, who owns a vacation home on the Baldwin County coast, promised to create a commission during his 2010 campaign for governor. He initially created it to address rising homeowner insurance rates in the two coastal counties following hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005, but he expanded it statewide after tornadoes in April 2011 killed more than 250 people in central and north Alabama.
Russell said the tornadoes have not had the same effect on rates in the northern two-thirds of Alabama that the hurricanes did on the coast, but it takes a couple of years before major disasters affect rates.
State Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling said the availability of homeowners insurance is improving because his department has approved seven new companies to operate in Alabama and two more are seeking approval.