NFIP Formally Extended Until March 6, 2009

Using industry trade groups as his primary sources, Arthur Postal reports passage of the extension for the National Underwriter. Our readers will remember current AIA Prez Marc Racicot as former Montana GOP Governor and George W Bushie 2004 campaign manager.

The Senate approved legislation Saturday that includes a provision extending the authorization for the current National Flood Insurance Program until March 6, 2009…….

The House passed the same bill Thursday.

Some insurance industry trade groups voiced grudging support for the extension, although they said they had hoped Congress would have completed work on legislation that would have extended the program as well as reformed it by this time. Continue reading “NFIP Formally Extended Until March 6, 2009”

A Look Behind the Politics of the NFIP Re-authorization: Big Problems that Need Big Solutions

Anita Lee wrote this story that was featured on the front page of the Sunday Sun Herald including quotes from our own Brian Martin on the internal politics in the conference committee:

The problem of separating wind and water damage after a hurricane will not go away, U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor knows.

In fact, he has been educating his Texas counterparts on what they can expect from the insurance industry after Hurricane Ike. Sympathetic adjusters will handle flood claims for residents who have federal flood coverage, cutting checks quickly with assurances that wind claims will be investigated.

In the end, the private carrier – who adjusts both claims through an agreement with the National Flood Insurance Program – will offer policyholders nothing, or pennies on the dollar, for wind damage to properties also hit by tidal surge. Continue reading “A Look Behind the Politics of the NFIP Re-authorization: Big Problems that Need Big Solutions”

Extension of NFIP Likely. All Proposals Dead Until Next Year

Gene Taylor was in the news today in a report dealing with the extension of the current NFIP program until next year. While the article focuses on adding wind to the program, this extension kills all the various proposals, from those backed by the insurance industry to those backed by us slabbers. Maria Recio has the story for the Sun Herald:

Rep. Gene Taylor’s relentless two-year campaign to secure wind coverage as part of the federal flood insurance program is on the verge of failure, a victim of vicious opposition in the Senate, of suspicions about a new government program and ultimately, of bad timing.

“It looks like there will be an extension of the present program,” said Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, in an interview. The National Flood Insurance Program expires Sept. 30 unless Congress acts and lawmakers, anxious to help victims of hurricanes Ike and Gustav, are looking for a simple extension – with no policy changes – while they focus on the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

“The important thing is that the program would not lapse,” Taylor said. House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., said last week that he wanted a seven-month extension until April 30. He introduced a bill late last week, H.R. 6965, that would extend the program by April 30. It may be on the House floor as soon as today, although Taylor aide Brian Martin said a vote was more likely Wednesday. Continue reading “Extension of NFIP Likely. All Proposals Dead Until Next Year”

Breaking: House-Senate NFIP Committe at Impasse on Reauthorization

Folks never count out our own Gene Taylor, one of the House’s NFIP conferees. Nancy Pelosi publicly stated in Bay St Louis she was behind us and Gene’s bill. Though Gene’s bill HR 3121 has been billed as a handout, as the National Underwriter story indicates one sticking point in the negotiations is NFIP debt forgiveness. The US Senate and Insurance Industry want the slabbed to get a government handout while the House version gives us a hand-up but makes us pay back the NFIP deficit which is fair. How easily the insurance industry parts with your tax dollars while holding tight to their own money.

And a word for those who sell us slabbers short. In the words of the lead character from my favorite TV series, the experience gives you “big balls” (plus coats ’em in stainless steel). Who is gonna blink first?  There are 11 days left before the program expires folks and Bush is against both Gene’s HR 3121 and the compromise bill in HR 3355.

Arthur Postal has the story for the National Underwriter. Notice what they say about Obama’s stand on adding wind coverage to NFIP. The more I hear from him the more I like him. Since I have more posts than time to do them I’ll add that those so interested should check out NU Editor in Chief Sam Friedman’s blog for several recent excellent posts including his last two which are on on AIG:

Two insurer groups are opposed to a proposal made last night to extend the current National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until April 30, 2009, saying the solution is a bipartisan bill that already has been passed in the Senate. Continue reading “Breaking: House-Senate NFIP Committe at Impasse on Reauthorization”

Do We Really Want Actuarially Sound Insurance Rates? Let's Go Ask the Wizard

Dorothy: Now which way do we go?
Scarecrow: Pardon me, this way is a very nice way.
Dorothy: Who said that?
[Toto barks at scarecrow]
Dorothy: Don’t be silly, Toto. Scarecrows don’t talk.
Scarecrow: [points other way] It’s pleasant down that way, too.
Dorothy: That’s funny. Wasn’t he pointing the other way?
Scarecrow: [points both ways] Of course, some people do go both ways.

The push to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is on and I’m feeling a little frisky. This particular post has been in the making since June (actually early March) much to my partner Nowdy’s occasional consternation with me for not helping others see it. However, the creativity it takes to author posts comes in streaks for me, especially when the subject matter is complicated.  I can uncomplicate things a bit now with the help of the Scarecrow and a few others that were willing to stick their necks out as we journey to Oz.

Politics is about nuance Continue reading “Do We Really Want Actuarially Sound Insurance Rates? Let's Go Ask the Wizard”

McCain Comes Out Against a Federal Multi Peril Solution: Slabbers Everywhere Unite for Obama!

I had a feeling the presidential candidates would narrow down the field from two to one for us slabbers on their own and John McCain has done the narrowing. The big business loving wing of the party may just cause me to leave the Senate race ballot blank too. I simply will not vote against my economic interests in 2008. Arthur Postal has the story for the National Underwriter:

Republican presumptive presidential candidate John McCain voiced opposition to a bill proposing a national risk pool for natural catastrophes, and a Florida Democratic congressman rebuked him for his comments.

The issue arose yesterday, when the Arizona senator, while traveling on his campaign bus in Florida, said while he sympathizes with homeowners battered by soaring insurance costs, he was not prepared to endorse a national risk pool as a way to bring those prices down. Continue reading “McCain Comes Out Against a Federal Multi Peril Solution: Slabbers Everywhere Unite for Obama!”

Cape May New Jersey Feeling the Pressure: Travelers & The Farm Pulling Out

A northeastern Slabber sent me this Cape May County Herald story this morning and I didn’t get far before I almost fell off my chair laughing:

The problem is proximity to the ocean and the amount of losses suffered from Hurricane Katrina and other storms in the southern half of the nation. He said Hurricane Katrina put a number of insurance companies out of business.

Please name us slabbers one such company of any consequence. You simply shake your head seeing the myth of insurer insolvency repeated verbatim. The Herald has been punked.

The reality of the great coastal wind insurance shaft is not lost on the politicos that represent our coastal brothers and sisters in the northeastern US. And I use the term brothers and sisters because this thread I did in April is like Cecil Turtle,  never burning up page views but getting us slow and consistent traffic from the Jersey shore. Just last month their politicians confirmed it in Bay St Louis. Northeastern seaboard US Reps Hoyer, Larson, and Israel publicly proclaimed they knew our pain. Our fate had become their fate.  Nearly one month later NFIP re-authorization still hangs in the balance and coastal America’s wind problem remains. Continue reading “Cape May New Jersey Feeling the Pressure: Travelers & The Farm Pulling Out”

Anita Lee on The Hartford Multi Peril Plan Plus Sam Friedman Chips In

Anita Lee profiles the latest multi peril trial ballon from the Hartford we discussed yesterday here. The Sun Herald story contains a link to the pdf and has a quote from Ramani Ayer, CEO of The Hartford. Anita also quotes Brian Martin who isn’t as enthusiastic.

The nugget buried in the story is the provision requiring coastal homeowners to carry flood insurance, a trial balloon floated by Senator Dodd since the recent Iowa flooding.

The Hartford Financial Services Group has stepped forward with a plan to keep wind coverage in the private market by offering insurance companies protection to cover catastrophic risks and consumers tax breaks or subsidies to buy coverage.

“It’s a great thing that more companies and more legislators and senators are grappling with this issue,” Ramani Ayer, CEO of The Hartford told the Sun Herald on Friday. “The present system, in my way of thinking, is not working.

“We are one storm away from a very severe crisis.” Continue reading “Anita Lee on The Hartford Multi Peril Plan Plus Sam Friedman Chips In”

Travelers to Sop. Ummm, You Forgot Something Bub.

Indeed I did forget something earlier today when I profiled the latest coastal multi peril insurance plan, namely, the Travelers-Nationwide plan that was floated out 10 days or so ago. Before I get to the 4-pillars-plan I’m going to share a bit of insight I gained last night when, for the first time in literally months I was able to catch up with the guys from Soggy Bottom, shoot the breeze and a have few brews with them. What I heard last night reminded me my first finance board offline gathering after the storm in the Atlanta area, when my good cyberfriend Buford made a prediction about the coast real estate market after I described the problems with getting insurance coverage.

Don’t buy now, when the market capitulates you’ll be able to buy cheap.

Given real estate pricing here back in January 2006 I thought it was an awfully bold prediction but Buford, the sage college finance professor knows his stuff. Here is the dynamic of how the sky high costs of insurance can crater the real estate market despite pent up demand.

  1. Katrina floods but does not destroy the house. Owner, with help from the SBA, insurance and private lending fixes the residence and re-occupies. Or, house is destroyed and owner buys nearby at an inflated post storm demand driven price.
  2. Insurance renews for 2006-2007, the increase in premiums is astronomic. Family budgets are strained.
  3. Gasoline and rising food costs coupled with the out of sight costs of insurance pushes many residents into mortgage default, home is repossessed. Many were already active listings on the market.
  4. Bank gets first insurance bill Continue reading “Travelers to Sop. Ummm, You Forgot Something Bub.”

Two New Coastal Insurance Proposals Floated

I considered slabbed a success when earlier this summer Nationwide unveiled a multi peril insurance proposal. Obviously we are bit players in this but the discussion here on slabbed coupled with the growing political movement to rein in what appears to be systemic insurer claimant abuse has stimulated discussion that hereto for has not taken place. The contrast of Summer 2008 with last year is telling. I remember the Sun Herald’s coverage of Rep Frank’s House finance committee hearings in 2007 when the industry, especially the reinsurance sector was on record firmly against Gene’s proposal but offered no solutions of their own. Now we see trial balloon solutions being floated seemingly weekly and for the slabbed is a sign for hope.

I’ve maintained a generally open mind about the proposals to date. But I found the first two stinkers IMHO this morning, one courtesy of the Sun Herald and one courtesy of Editilla at the NOLA News Ladder. That does not mean of course us slabbers don’t appreciate the input because we do greatly, I just don’t like the latest proposals. First off we’ll start off at the Hartford Courant which reported on a proposal by the Hartford Insurance Company for multi peril coverage:

With a personal rollout by CEO Ramani Ayer, The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. is the latest voice in a deepening debate over how to solve insurance problems many people are facing in the post-Katrina era, from Maine to Florida and along the Gulf Coast. Continue reading “Two New Coastal Insurance Proposals Floated”