NFIP catch-all: next vote, more lobbying, another approach

When the Senate returns tomorrow, the wind-less extension of the federal flood insurance program is expected to come up for a vote, according to information posted by slabbed reader cominglatersooner.

Most of the amendments proposed by Gulf Coast lawmakers to minimize rate increases for their constituents and increase coverage limits failed in votes last week. But Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said she got word that one of her proposals will be accepted in a modified form. She wanted to establish an inspector general, as part of the flood insurance program, to ensure that private insurance companies don’t pass along wind coverage damage claims to the National Flood Insurance Program, as she and others said occurred during Hurricane Katrina. Under the agreement, Landrieu is losing her provision to give the new office subpoena power, but won a clause that will allow the agency to terminate companies from the flood insurance program that don’t cooperate with requests for records and information.

After last week’s vote on Wicker’s amendment, the AP reported Allstate had invested $1.4 million in first quarter lobbying expenditures – The Northbrook, Ill.-based insurer lobbied the federal government on legislation involving homeowners, terrorism risk, flood and other types of insurance…My quick search to see how much other insurance companies invested during the quarter turned up this guide to federal lobbying requirements but no numbers – just a bank of information about exemptions to reporting requirements.
Last up on this round-up is Rebecca Mowbray’s story in the Sunday Times – One-stop storm policies proposed.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina left thousands of homeowners stuck in the middle of disputes about what combination of hurricane wind and rising flood waters damaged their homes, many have wondered whether there’s a better way.

U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi came up with a proposal that would have allowed the National Flood Insurance Program to sell both wind and flood coverage, thus avoiding the problem of having homeowners try to piece together coverage from separate homeowners and flood policies. But that measure failed in the Senate on Wednesday after a Government Accountability Office analysis revealed a host of problems with the proposal.

But Adam Scales, an associate professor at the Washington and Lee School of Law in Virginia, has a different twist on how homeowners can get all the coverage they need in one place.

Rather than having homeowners buy two policies — a flood policy from the government and coverage for fire, theft, liability and wind from a private insurance company — Scales advocates making companies sell policies that would provide all the coverage people need and having the government reimburse the companies for flood claims.

An interesting idea and an interesting week ahead. Stay tuned.

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