President Bush Signs Bill to Cover Cerro Grande Fire Claims

October 2, 2003

President George W. Bush this week signed appropriations for
the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for payment of claims under the Cerro Grande Fire Assistance Act.

“The National Association of Independent Insurers (NAII) applauds the Administration and Congress for taking action to secure the funding necessary to help pay off all valid Cerro Grande fire claims including subrogation claims,” said Carl Parks, senior vice president, government relations.

The bill agrees to provide $38,062,000 as proposed by the Senate, with administrative costs not to exceed 5 percent. According to the language in the House conference report this funding will fully cover all remaining Cerro Grande fire claims. “We hope this bill will be a complete solution, however, NAII will continue to work closely with Congress and the Administration to assure all valid claims are paid. Much of the work to get this bill to the President’s desk can be attributed to the intense commitment of Sen. Pete V. Domenici, (R-N.M.) and his staff,” added Parks.

Insurers have reportedly long awaited appropriate relief for claims filed as a result of the out of control prescribed burn in the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico in May 2000. The federal government assumed full responsibility for the catastrophe and the severe property damage caused by the National Park Service.

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