What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Vitter puts hold on insurance bill

By Bruce Alpert - Times Picayune, October 23, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has put a hold on a flood insurance overhaul bill because he says it doesn't raise coverage limits or expand the program to provide wind-damage coverage to address a shortage of affordable policies in Gulf Coast communities devastated by hurricanes in 2005.

Because the Senate calendar often is set by unanimous consent, letting a single senator block a bill's consideration, Vitter's hold puts passage in limbo. Members put a hold on a bill in an effort to get the sponsors to negotiate changes.

Vitter said Monday that he's looking for several changes in the bill approved last week by the Senate Banking Committee.
He wants to increase the current maximum levels of flood insurance to for residential properties from $250,000 to $335,000 and for commercial properties from $500,000 to $750,000.

The program, Vitter said, also should be expanded to allow policyholders new lines of optional coverage for business interruption and to provide full replacement of contents.
Congress should take steps to alleviate a shortage of wind coverage along the Gulf Coast and other coastal areas, he said.
"Lack of available or affordable general liability coverage, including wind coverage, is now one of the single biggest obstacles to recovery," Vitter said in a letter to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the panel's top Republican. Either the flood insurance program should be expanded to provide wind coverage, or Congress must take other steps to address the crisis, Vitter said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., also has concerns about the Senate bill, spokesman Adam Sharp said. Landrieu is concerned that the Senate bill allows for bigger increases in premiums than the House-passed bill, and, like Vitter, would like to see a wind coverage option added to the program, Sharp said.

Landrieu plans to consult soon with Rep. Richard Baker, R-Baton Rouge, to develop a strategy to win changes in the Senate Banking Committee bill, Sharp said. But for now she is not joining Vitter in placing a hold on the measure.
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Bruce Alpert can be reached at or (202) 383-7861.

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