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PIA National Addresses Catastrophe Insurance During Forum at Texas Capitol

PIA National Assistant Vice President of Regulatory Affairs David Eppstein addressed issues of availability and affordability of insurance in catastrophe-prone areas during remarks to a...
February 1, 2011

PIA National Assistant Vice President of Regulatory Affairs David Eppstein addressed issues of availability and affordability of insurance in catastrophe-prone areas during remarks to a forum for Texas legislators January 27 in Austin, Texas.

Eppstein gave a quick overview of the agents' role in the marketplace and PIA's desire to seek solutions. He emphasized that now is the time to be making these tough decisions, not in the wake of a huge disaster. He emphasized the need for carriers to be able to charge risk based rates, incentivize mitigation and stressed the need for changes to the Texas program. For example, he said the Texas windpool should be privatized in order to improve customer service and agent relations.

Eppstein stressed how important it is for Texas to not follow the path of Florida, where well intentioned policies have led to a dramatically reduced private market. Eppstein highlighted PIA National policy, as formulated by the Natural Catastrophe Working Group chaired by Bill McGraw (MS), and emphasized that PIA National is reaching out to our partners in the insurance industry to use these discussions as a platform for creating real solutions that will bring more capacity to underserved areas. We were pleased to see many of PIA's policy positions being echoed by other participants in the event.

The January 27 meeting was hosted by the Heartland Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization, and included two panels. Panelists included Eppstein; Keith McCue, Renaissance Re; Lars Powell, Associate Professor and Whitbeck-Beyer Chair of Insurance and Financial Services at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock; David Marlett, Chair, Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance at Appalachian State University; Dan Sutter, Associate Professor of economics at the University of Texas. The second panel consisted of Bill Peacock, Vice President of Research & Planning at the Texas Public Policy Foundation; Babe Schwartz, former Texas state legislator and author of the original windpool bill; John Colyandro, Texas Conservative Coalition; and Wehr Wendell, on behalf of consumers. North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin served as the keynote speaker.

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