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Press Release

Joint National Catastrophe Plan To Be Presented To Two National Insurance Policymaking Groups
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
TALLAHASSEE - The representatives of two national insurance policymaking groups today announced a collaboration to create a joint national catastrophe plan.  State Senator Steven Geller (D-Hallandale Beach) and Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty said they would be presenting proposals to their respective organizations and would ask each to create and finalize a joint plan for adoption. 
Sen. Geller chairs the National Conference of Insurance Legislator's (NCOIL) Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Insurance Legislation and McCarty chairs the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's (NAIC) Property and Casualty (C) Committee.  McCarty and Geller pointed out that during a recent two year period the federal government issued 115 major disaster declarations in more than 30 different states.
"I am very pleased to see NCOIL and NAIC working together on an issue of such critical importance to people in this country and to Floridians," said Sen. Geller.  "The ultimate solution for availability and affordability of insurance in disaster prone areas is to have an effective federal program.  We are in need of a plan which recognizes that flooding, hurricanes and other natural disasters don't respect state boundaries."
"While we are seeing increased interest and support for a national catastrophe plan, we recognize we have much more work to do," said McCarty.  "Our chances for success will be much greater if we work together with one plan and use the unique expertise of both organizations to get a program passed to better protect our country."
The proposals Geller and McCarty will present for joint action include:
  • Encouraging states to establish privately funded, tax-exempt catastrophe funds, such as Florida has, and allowing state cat funds to purchase high levels of protection from the federal government for extreme events at actuarially sound prices.                              
  • Allowing insurance companies to accumulate reserves on a tax-deferred basis to respond to natural disasters. 
  • Establishing a national backstop for mega-catastrophes over $50 million, similar to the federal Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.
  • Changing IRS tax policy to allow insurers to accumulate tax deferred reserves to be dedicated solely to paying for catastrophic claims. 
  • Create a framework for prompt redevelopment after a disaster. 
  • Instilling a culture-of-preparedness amongst the U.S. population.
Sen. Geller is the past national president of NCOIL where he made passage of a national natural disaster program his top priority.
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