It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

There is story in today’s Washington Post that includes a Team Obama trial balloon for FEMA director that reminded me of that famous bit of Yogism I used in the post title in that James Lee Witt, Bill Clinton’s FEMA director is being looked at closely for the post.

On the surface Witt would seem like a great choice as his resume is packed full of skins on the wall. For the slabbed however it represents no real change at all. In fact Witt coming back to FEMA would represent more of the revolving door and the inherent problems associated with it.

We first ran across Mr Witt in his association with Allstate front group Protecting America.org. It is there you can find a press release from last Thursday that predicts a federal backstop will soon pass now that Obama will soon be President:

Edward T. Collins, a national director of ProtectingAmerica.org, the nation’s largest coalition of first responders, emergency management professionals, small and large businesses and 20,000 individual members dedicated to improving America’s preparation and protection from massive natural catastrophes, today told the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL) that the nation and the states are poised to create financial backstops that will address the looming threat of record-breaking disaster losses without relying on bailouts from the federal taxpayers.

‘Tremendous progress has been made at the state and national levels to create a system of pre-funded financial backstops that will rely on private insurance company contributions to replace the after-the-fact taxpayer bailouts that have followed major catastrophes like hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma and Ike,’ Collins told the NCOIL Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Insurance Legislation meeting in Duck Key, Florida today.

I personally found it ironic NCOIL was meeting in such posh surroundings as Hawk’s Cay Resort on Duck Key given the current controversy about traveling in style and partying while asking for taxpayer handouts but as the Protecting America press release illustrates the memo has been slow to be passed around. Cynics would say of course this is just another brazen illustration of arrogance. In fact taking cynicism a step further I’ll note that while Hawk’s Cay Resort is renowned Continue reading “It’s Deja Vu All Over Again”

Obama Pens Op-Ed for a Major Florida Newspaper. Why McCain Will Lose in November

H/T to Sam Friedman and his excellent blog. This is simple folks. No Florida, no McCain presidency. Of this us slabbers can be certain, we have been heard and one political party is listening closely while the other still just doesn’t get it. We prefer another approach here at slabbed but are happy the Dems are having a dialogue on a permanent solution.  Now the Obama Op-Ed:

In times of great tragedy, Americans look out for one another. It’s that core value that says, “I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.” We saw it last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. And because future hurricanes and other natural disasters will challenge us again, it’s time to come together as Americans and create a common-sense national catastrophe insurance system, so that no family, neighborhood, city or state is left to bear the full burden of these events alone.

Floridians know as well as anyone that the current property insurance market isn’t working. In some cases, property insurance rates have spiked by as much as 600 percent. As gas prices skyrocket and the economy weakens, that’s more than working families in Florida can bear. Continue reading “Obama Pens Op-Ed for a Major Florida Newspaper. Why McCain Will Lose in November”

DNC Platform Calls for National Catastrophe Fund

The house bill is known as HR 3355, the Homeowner’s Defense Act of 2007 and is even supported by insurers such as State Farm. John McCain, George Bush and the GOP are against helping coastal homeowners deal with a dysfunctional insurance market just as they were against protecting West Coast electricity consumers from price gouging by ENRON back in 2001.

Arthur Postal has the story for the National Underwriter:

The Democratic Party has approved a plank in its platform for the coming election that calls for creation of a national catastrophe fund. An advocate for such legislation said the move was a first for a major political party.

The platform was adopted by acclamation Monday, the first day of the Democratic political convention.

The decision was greeted with elation by officials of ProtectingAmerica.org, a strong advocate for such a program. Continue reading “DNC Platform Calls for National Catastrophe Fund”