by Sean Reilly
Mobile Press Register Washington Bureau
Original article published on July 27, 2007.
WASHINGTON -- The House Financial Services Committee agreed Thursday to add optional wind coverage to the National Flood Insurance Program, brushing aside objections that such a major step needed more study.
The bill by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., would also increase overall coverage limits, phase out subsidized flood insurance rates for businesses and vacation homes, and authorize spending up to $400 million annually for the next five years to pay for flood map updates.
The subsidized rates generally apply to structures built before the early 1970s. For vacation homes in that category, the bill would allow flood insurance administrators to raise rates by 25 percent annually until the full risk-based premium is reached. For subsidized business structures, rate increases of 20 percent annually would be permitted.
In voting 38-29 to send the bill to the full House, the committee broke largely along party lines, with Democrats solidly in support and most Republicans opposed. In arguing for the addition of wind coverage, Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., pointed to the wave of "wind" vs. "water" disputes that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
For full discussion of the famed "wind vs water" argument, see Wind? Water? More Like a Bunch of Hot Air!
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Saturday, July 28, 2007
by Sean Reilly