House Bill Would Establish National Disaster Commission

July 31, 2006

Legislation that would establish a bipartisan national commission tasked with recommending policies to help the federal government prepare for and manage disaster response has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

H.R. 5891, the Catastrophic Disaster Risk and Insurance Commission Act, would attempt to mitigate future costs, reduce the likelihood of fraud and abuse in a federal repayment program, and hedge any risk exposure assumed by the federal government in the adoption of a national catastrophe program. The bill was introduced last Wednesday by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Fla., and cosponsored by nine representatives, Republican and Democrats alike, including Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La.

Conceptually, the House legislation is similar to the Commission on Natural Disaster Risk and Insurance Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in May. The legislation would establish a 17-member bipartisan commission and include an independent insurance agent as part of that commission.

The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America expressed their strong support for the introduction of the bipartisan natural-disaster commission bill.

“Independent insurance agents and brokers are an integral part of the insurance marketplace, and this commission would give a crucial part of the industry a place at the table in the process of making important public policy,” said Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs and federal relations. Our members serve as the conduit between consumers and insurance companies, and they understand from experience the marketplace disruption caused by natural disasters. We truly appreciate the work of Reps. Wasserman-Schultz, Castle, McHenry, Melancon and all the other bipartisan cosponsors of this important bill, and we thank them for including independent agents on this proposed commission.”

Source: IIABA

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