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Rep. Taylor Says Passing His Wind Bill May Take Another Hurricane

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) said it might take another hurricane for his bill to add wind to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to pass....
August 3, 2010

Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) said it might take another hurricane for his bill to add wind to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to pass. In comments last week to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, Rep. Taylor said, "I hate to say this, but another hurricane may have to happen" for the bill to pass. After his house was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, Taylor sued his insurer, State Farm, for how it handled his claim. He later settled out of court.

The bill, the Multiple Peril Insurance Act (H.R. 1264), was pulled from the House floor on July 22 just before a scheduled vote. Taylor was hoping to have a vote scheduled on July 30 as the House was about to adjourn for its August recess, but that didn't happen. The bill would require the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to offer optional wind coverage along with flood policies. PIA actively opposed H.R. 1264.

"For the second time in as many weeks, Rep. Taylor's Multiperil Insurance Act (H.R. 1264) was not brought up for a vote," said PIA National Director of Federal Affairs Mike Becker. "We think this indicates many House members are having second thoughts and support for this bill appears to be eroding."

Meanwhile, another bill, the Coordination of Wind and Flood Perils Act of 2010, was introduced last Thursday July 29 by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Under the bill, should a wind vs. water claim arise and the NFIP and wind insurer - either a private carrier or state wind pool - not agree on how to divide the claim, the policyholder would immediately receive 50 percent of the claim payout from the NFIP and 50 percent from the insurer. The claim would then go to an arbitration panel to settle the differences between the NFIP and the wind insurer.

"PIA is still studying Sen. Wicker's bill, but it has some interesting possibilities," said Becker in comments to the National Underwriter. "PIA has shared two areas of concern in our meetings with Sen. Wicker's staff about this bill. First, there would need to be sufficient buy-in on the part of carriers. Second, if disputed claims are to be sent to arbitration panels, these panels should be set up by state departments of insurance, rather than by the federal government."

"We don't want to supersede the states' department of insurance regulators," Becker told BestWire. He said the senator's staff has been briefed on possible industry issues and has seemed willing to compromise. "Should this bill proceed through the Senate, we would remain optimistic that the senator would take into consideration some changes," Becker said.

House Again Avoids Vote On Taylor Bill (National Underwriter 8/2/10) (PIA quotes)

Industry, Taylor React To 'Compromise' Bill (National Underwriter 7/29/10) (PIA quotes)

Lawmakers Try to Work Out Wind, Flood Issues (BestWire 7/30/10) (PIA quotes)
 
Dem Lawmaker: Hurricane Would Help My Bill (TheHill 7/27/10)

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