PCI to Testify at Md. Hurricane Claims Briefing

January 26, 2004

The Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America and two of its member companies are scheduled to testify at Tuesday’s legislative briefing in Maryland on insurance aspects related to Hurricane Isabel.

PCI Assistant Vice President Don Griffin intends to explain coverage and claims issues related to the National Flood Insurance Program and respond to questions from the members of the Senate Finance and House Economic Matters Committee regarding how claims were handled after Isabel struck.

The Hurricane caused extensive damage and flooding to residences and businesses along the Chesapeake Bay. Legislators and Maryland insurance department officials are investigating the adequacy of insurance claims handling during the catastrophe and whether policyholders were given sufficient explanation on what is covered under the federal flood program.

At Tuesday’s briefing, committee members also will receive testimony from representatives of the Maryland Insurance Administration, the National Flood Insurance Program, insurance agents, State Farm and Nationwide insurance companies, and private citizens. In addition, former insurance commissioner Steve Larsen is expected to report on a study he conducted on how insurers responded to Isabel-related claims.

The fallout from Isabel is expected to remain a “hot topic” during the 2004 Maryland legislative session. A recently introduced Bill, HB 3, would create the “Hurricane Isabel Housing Rehabilitation and Renovation Program,” which would provide low interest loans or serve as a guarantor of loans to rehabilitate or renovate residences damaged by the hurricane. Funding would come from existing state and federal housing programs or funds.

The House Environmental Matters Committee has scheduled a hearing on another bill, HB 177, for Feb. 3. It would require insurance producers who sell property/casualty insurance and flood insurance to receive continuing education that directly relates to flood insurance. The bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday before the House Economic Matters Committee.

“PCI will thoroughly review legislative proposals in Maryland regarding flood insurance and proposals relating to dispersing consumer information on the federal flood program,” stated, PCI assistant vice president, regional manager and counsel Don Cleasby.

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