The attempts by Mississippi’s Gene Taylor to craft an insurance product that fully covers hurricane losses seems to be having trouble, but not because Gene Taylor is not trying. While the House of Representatives passed a bill supported by Taylor which includes coverage for the perils of wind and storm surge into one policy, one Republican Senator offered a compromise bill which does not accomplish that but merely proposes a different method of dispute resolution. As reported in the National Underwriter, both Taylor and the insurance industry think the compromise legislation does not work.
In Industry, Taylor React To ‘Compromise’ Senate Wind vs. Water Bill, Taylor’s position was noted:
Brian Martin, policy director for Rep. Taylor, contradicted reports that Rep. Taylor believes the Wicker bill is a good compromise between his bill and the five-year NFIP extension recently passed by the House that does not add windstorm coverage to the program.
“Wicker’s bill is not a substitute for Rep. Taylor’s legislation, H.R. 1264, the Multiple Peril Insurance Act,” Mr. Martin said. He said the Wicker bill is just an administrative procedure for resolving "wind vs. water" conflicts between the NFIP and insurance companies.
He noted that Rep. Taylor’s amendment to the five-year extension bill is “slightly similar” to the Wicker bill in that when there is a "wind vs. water" dispute, the homeowner would be paid and then the wind and flood policies would figure out how to allocate the loss.
Mr. Martin said that in Rep. Taylor’s amendment, The NFIP pays the homeowner and gets reimbursed later by the insurer for the wind share.
He explained, “I thought we would have some state and NAIC issues if we tried to make the private insurer pay the homeowner, so that is why we propose in our amendment that the NFIP pay the homeowner and then make the insurer reimburse NFIP after the allocation was decided.”
Currently, Mr. Martin and Rep. Taylor are continuing to seek floor action on the bill to add windstorm coverage to the NFIP.
Brian Martin is a very hardworking staffer working for Taylor’s constituency in Mississippi. These flood insurance issues are political, social and financial. I first met Martin when we took a Rimkus engineer to meet Gene Taylor in Washington. The engineer’s original written opinion indicating that wind caused the damage had been changed without his approval to reflect that flood caused the damage. Martin and Taylor were obviously interested in meeting this engineer.
I applaud and wish good luck to Taylor and Martin in their efforts. They have a long, long way to go trying to prevent the heartbreak caused by the insurance industry selling a defective product. And that reminds of a song as our weekend is upon us: