The Sun Herald Weighs in (Again) on Multi-Peril Insurance

Today we are greeted with an editorial in today’s Sun Herald regarding the Senate Banking Committee obstinance in fixing NFIP and solving the public policy problems that arise from the recurring wind-water controversies that result from the structure of the Flood program. Without fruther commentary on my part here is today’s Op-Ed.

Robert Hunter may be right. He is, after all, a former insurance commissioner for the state of Texas and a former director of the National Flood Insurance Program. He is now the director of the Consumer Federation of America and an advocate for change in the insurance industry.

But he doubts that any change, at least in the form of adding wind damage to the federal Flood Insurance Program, will take place this year.

He cites two reasons:

• It’s an election year.

• And powerful senators have dug in their heels on both sides of the issue.

Neither reason is sufficient.

Many private insurers are abandoning potential victims of wind damage along the nation’s southern and eastern shorelines, just as they previously abandoned potential victims of flooding.

And just as the federal government stepped in to provide all Americans with flood insurance, the federal government now needs to step up to the challenge of providing coastal homeowners with insurance coverage for wind damage.

Multi-peril insurance coverage would end the debate over whether it was wind or water that damaged a home.

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., has crafted legislation that would require actuarially sound wind-insurance rates, which means premiums would be based on risk. His legislation, which has passed the House of Representatives, also requires tougher building standards in coastal areas.

Regardless of the election cycle, a multi-peril insurance program deserves a fair and immediate hearing in the United States Senate.