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”

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”

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”

Senate Votes to Renew Flood Insurance Program Part 2: The Politics

Rather than adding on to Nowdy’s post I’ll add the text of today’s Sun Herald Op-Ed on the S. 2284 vote. For what ever reason they mixed in this Reuters story in the online page by Kevin Drawbaugh on the Senate vote which I thought was both fact based and well written. On the front page of today’s Sun Herald is this AP story. We duly noted both Senators Wicker and Cochran voted in favor of S. 2284 while Florida’s Bill Nelson joined Mary Landrieu and David Vitter in voting against passage.

The Mississippi politics behind the vote are somewhat ironic. I suspect Wicker and Cochran’s final yes vote was the price for getting a vote on the wind amendment. Given Travis Childer’s victory in the first district yesterday, 3 of 4 Mississippi’s US Representatives are Democrats. Even hard core Republicans like Alan Lange at now concede the macro political trend away from the GOP may indeed wash over entire state as surely as Katrina’s water washed away the coast. In all honesty I’ve never cared much for Thad Cochran but not for political reasons – he’s always struck me as the Senator for the wealthy but he’ll occupy the seat as long as he wants it. Roger Wicker is the one that is vulnerable as Alan Lange acknowledged today. I personally think Ronnie Musgrove is a deeply flawed candidate but the race is shaping up to be very competitive.

At slabbed we’re happy Senator Wicker’s wind amendment got a vote. But we need more than a vote. We need a solution. In these months leading up to the November election we’ll continue to evaluate the candidates for Trent Lott’s old Senate seat.

Few who come here leave unchanged in some way. Continue reading “Senate Votes to Renew Flood Insurance Program Part 2: The Politics”

Senate Defeats Wicker’s Wind Amendment

As we expected Senator Wicker’s multi peril amendment went down in flames as an ill wind blew through the Senate.  Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama were MIA. McClatchy reporter Lesley Clark has the story. Nowdy has some analysis in the works for later today.

A Gulf Coast-backed effort to add wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program was soundly defeated Wednesday in the Senate amid concerns it would be too costly. 

The drive to add the amendment to the flood insurance bill failed, 73-19. Opponents said they were leery of the cost and opposed federal intervention in private markets.

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, urged a vote against the amendment but said he was “determined to come up with some answers” on providing affordable insurance to homeowners in disaster-prone states. Continue reading “Senate Defeats Wicker’s Wind Amendment”

The Sun Herald Opines in Favor of Multi-Peril Insurance

I missed today’s Sun Herald editorial in my rush to get out the door early this morning. I’ve traveled to Madison County and back with a brief stop over at Nowdy’s so far today. She is a visual learner and mouse dependant. I’m a keyboard shortcut type of guy. Since I’ve immediately detoured away from the subject matter of my post title I’ll also share something publically about Bellesouth.

Nowdy shared an email with me today from Belle that I appreciated. I like Belle and though we have not yet met in person we certainly enjoy having her around Slabbed. She helps us on and offline and frankly she deserves a chunk of the credit for the blog itself.

She is also made fun of a good bit on other less tolerant weblogs. We at slabbed, just like Sid Salter, are happy she reads and contributes to the blogosphere (ummm sometimes I bet Sid wants to strangle Belle but to his credit he won’t ban her). Belle is 100% genuine southern Mississippi Belle and being from the diverse gulf coast I like that. We don’t have enough Belles down here.

We also note the points she made were not refuted on Rossmiller’s blog yesterday. However Mr Rossmiller did admit to being a yes man to Belle in a rare moment of personal honesty. I like that too.  All in all I’m 100% pro-Bellesouth and wouldn’t change a thing about her cyber persona. We’re going to meet in person sometime soon and hopefully she’ll join us writing posts here at slabbed.

Speaking of the Insurance Coverage Blog I enjoyed seeing the Risk Professor out and about Continue reading “The Sun Herald Opines in Favor of Multi-Peril Insurance”

Controversy Over S. 2884 Continues

Nowdy and I are lucky to have cyber friends like Mr CLS and Belle that help keep an eye out for insurance news we miss. Yesterday we missed big time on a Times Picayune story by Rebecca Mowbray on the behind the scenes politicking over the Senate version of Gene Taylor’s HR 3121, S. 2284 but thanks to Mr CLS we bring it to you today.

The issues involved in renewing the National Flood Insurance Program are simple. Differences in the House and Senate version center on adding actuarially sound wind coverage, increasing the coverage limits and the rate of premium increases for vacation homes and homes that suffer repeated claims.  Wind coverage is the main fly in the ointment to reaching a compromise. Continue reading “Controversy Over S. 2884 Continues”