Florida Congressman Files CAT Savings Account Legislation

March 7, 2006

Legislation to create Catastrophe Savings Accounts to give Florida homeowners the opportunity to put aside tax-free money to financially prepare for major catastrophes has been filed by Congressman Tom Feeney from Orlando, according to Tom Gallagher, Florida CFO.

“Floridians deserve the opportunity to protect themselves against the financial devastation inflicted by hurricanes and other catastrophic events,” Gallagher, who first initiated the idea with the Florida Legislature last year, said. “These accounts are a common-sense approach to encourage preparedness and personal responsibility and give Floridians the incentive they need to financially prepare for catastrophes. I support Congressman Feeney for his leadership in Congress on behalf of Floridians, and I pledge to continue working with him to make CSAs a reality.”

The creation of CSAs is one of several solutions Gallagher began pursuing after the 2004 hurricane season to help Floridians prepare for the financial impact of a catastrophic storm. Gallagher said the legislation filed will help homeowners accumulate money tax-free to cover deductible expenses, uninsured losses, and structural upgrades to mitigate damage from future storms.

Following the 2004 hurricane season, Gallagher initiated a proposal to help lay the groundwork for Floridians to set up CSAs and keep them protected from creditors. The legislation (Senate Bill 660), sponsored by Senator Lisa Carlton and Representative Thad Altman, was approved in the 2005 session and signed into law by Governor Jeb Bush.

To create the accounts under federal law and gain tax-exempt designation, Gallagher met with several members of Florida’s Congressional delegation to gather support in Congress. Gallagher said he is confident that legislation filed today by Congressman Feeney will receive strong support from Florida’s delegation and other states, and he will continue lobbying Congress to encourage creation of CSAs.

Feeney’s bill also has the support of the following congressional members from Florida: Representatives Mario and Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Katherine Harris, Ginny Brown-Waite, Mike Bilirakis, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ric Keller, Jeff Miller, Connie Mack IV, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Alcee Hastings.

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