Insurance industry officials are voicing strong support for the legislation signed into law Sunday by President Obama that raised the borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program by one-third.
Those praising Congress for its action include the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and the American Insurance Association.
Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New York also thanked Congress for its action.
“The IIABA strongly supports raising the NFIP borrowing authority in order to ensure that NFIP policyholders who had the prudence to purchase protection and have been paying their premiums receive the claims payment they are due,” says Charles Symngton, IIABA senior vice president of government affairs.
Symington says some experts estimate that damage from Sandy could generate as many as 139,000 claims, but without an increase in the borrowing authority only about 12,000 of these could have been covered from existing funds.
Nat Wienecke, PCI senior vice president federal government relations, adds, “PCI commends Congress for making this important issue a priority at the start of the Congressional session.”
Tom Santos, AIA vice president for federal affairs, says, “Ensuring that the NFIP is able to pay claims will provide much needed help to the victims of Sandy and assist in the recovery of the affected communities.”
In his comments, Jimi Grande, NAMIC senior vice president of federal and political affairs, reiterates NAMIC’s call for Congress to include the Safe Building Code Incentive Act in the broader Sandy relief package to be considered later this
“As we help the victims of Sandy recover, it's also important that Congress consider what can be done to prepare for the next storm,” Grande says.
With every dollar of federal spending subject to scrutiny, studies have shown that every dollar of spending on disaster mitigation equates to four dollars in savings from reduced losses, Grande says.
“Strong building codes have repeatedly been shown to be the most effective and efficient means of reducing losses from storms, and Congress can help encourage their use by including the Safe Building Code Incentive Act in the broader Sandy relief package to be considered later this month.”
In a joint statement, Cuomo and Christie say the congressional action was a necessary and critical first step toward delivering aid to the people of New Jersey and New York.
“While we are pleased with this progress, today was just a down payment and it is now time to go even further and pass the final and more complete, clean disaster aid bill,” they add.