Bill Would Create N.J. Catastrophe Fund

June 8, 2006

New Jersey Assemblyman Mike Panter (D-Monmouth/Mercer) has filed legisaltion to create a premium-funded state pool to cover homeowners’ losses from natural catastrophes.

Panter’s bill (A-3236), the New Jersey Consumer Catastrophe Preparedness and Protection Act, would establish the New Jersey Catastrophe Fund. No tax dollars would be used to support the fund, and premium contributions could not be used for any purposes other than to pay claims from a catastrophe that exceed a certain threshold.

The bill also contains provisions designed to protect consumers against post-catastrophe price gouging, strengthen and enforce building codes, and spend catastrophe fund investment income for improved mitigation efforts to include first responders and better land-use planning.

A portion of investment income would also be set aside for counties and municipalities for emergency planning and response.

Panter, who is vice chair of the Assembly Financial Institutions Committee, was applauded by and the organization’s co-chairs James Lee Witt, former FEMA director, and Admiral James Loy, former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

“The catastrophe management solution in this bill will help make homeowners insurance available and affordable for New Jersey consumers. Equally important, it will also help improve preparedness and establish comprehensive mitigation, education and prevention programs and augment first responder programs, all of which will help minimize damage, speed recovery and save lives,” Witt, the former FEMA director, said.

“As the nation’s most developed and densely populated state, New Jersey has a particular need for better preparation and protection against catastrophe. Assemblyman Panter’s bill will help residents protect families throughout the state,” Loy said.


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