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Press Release

Top Insurance Regulators To Convene Important Summit On National Catastrophe Insurance Program
Wednesday, November 9, 2005
Contact:   Beth Scott
               850/ 413-2515
Tallahassee – Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty will join insurance commissioners from Illinois, California and New York and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in San Francisco for a Summit Nov. 15-16 to devise a national catastrophe insurance plan to cover damages from natural and man-made catastrophes.
The National Catastrophe Insurance Summit was organized before Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma devastated the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida and deadly tornadoes struck Kentucky and Indiana. Billions of dollars in resulting damages will be partially covered by emergency funds from the federal government.  However, a national insurance policy would greatly reduce the need for emergency financial assistance and help create an affordable, comprehensive policy for more people – including many who can't afford coverage now.
"The current system of financing catastrophe losses after the fact is not working," Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said. "We need a comprehensive federal solution that pre-funds catastrophic losses, not funding after the event using the federal deficit."
 "A national insurance policy is the only way to effectively deal with the financial ruin caused by these incredible catastrophes," said Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, who has long advocated for a catastrophe policy. "It's time to stop wasting federal emergency funds and bring effective, affordable catastrophe coverage to our nation."
Other regulators also emphasized the importance of the Summit. "On behalf of Gov. Blagojevich, I welcome this discussion that will prioritize consumer and taxpayer interests, integrate responsible business models, and more clearly define private and public sector roles," said Michael T. McRaith, director, Illinois Division of Insurance.
Catastrophe and insurance experts will make presentations to the various panels for discussion, and insurance industry executives will also speak at the Summit. A detailed, preliminary agenda is attached.
"It is imperative that we plan ahead in order to be in a position to respond nationally to the financial consequences of major catastrophes, accumulating funds in both the private and public sectors to pay for extraordinary losses," said New York State Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills.  "This Summit gives insurance regulators, the industry, and legislators an opportunity to begin a dialogue that will move us closer to that public policy goal."
WHO:  California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi
          Florida Office of Insurance Regulation Commissioner Kevin McCarty
          New York State Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills
          Illinois Division of Insurance Director Michael McRaith
WHEN:  Nov. 15-16
            Press conference: Tuesday, Nov. 15 at noon
            Conference opening: Tuesday, 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hyatt Regency at San Francisco Airport
            1333 Bayshore Highway, Burlingame CA
Reporters covering the event may pre-register by calling Beth Scott at 850-413-2515, or email beth.scott@fldfs.com. The California Department of Insurance asks reporters to present valid media credentials to cover this Summit.