Smart Bites for October 1, 2013

September 18th Senate Hearing on Biggert-Waters Reforms

STEVE ELLIS URGES SENATORS TO MAINTAIN REFORMS IN TESTIMONY BEFORE COMMITTEE: In an appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, Steve Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, pushed Senators to stay the course on flood insurance reforms, saying, “it may be politically expedient and popular locally to delay map modernization or delay rate increases. But what may make good local politics generally makes bad insurance policy – and by extension with federal flood insurance – bad public policy.” Ellis also encouraged more assistance for those struggling to afford higher rates, stressing that any such measures should be “targeted,” “means-tested,” and paid for by “a small surcharge…on all flood insurance policies to pre-fund the account.” His testimony was reported by multiple news organizations, including the New Orleans Times-Picayune, PropertyCasualty360, the Baton Rouge Advocate, and Gannett.

NAMIC CALLS ON CONGRESS TO RESIST DELAYING REFORMS: In a letter to the Senate Banking Committee, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies encouraged Congress to resist putting off NFIP reforms, saying that delays “would represent a step backward to a broken system of taxpayer-funded subsidies and bailouts.” Their letter was featured in Law360 and Carrier Management.

TAXPAYER ADVOCATES STRESS NEED FOR REFORMS IN LETTER TO SENATE: Conservative groups, including the R Street Institute, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the American Consumer Institute, and the National Taxpayers Union, sent a letter to Congress explaining how NFIP reforms set the program on a path to sustainability: “At a time when our nation faces tough fiscal challenges, the market-based reforms in Biggert-Waters put the deeply indebted flood insurance program on sounder fiscal footing by scaling back huge taxpayer subsidies.” Click here to read the letter. The letter was also covered in the Mississippi Press.

CONSUMER GROUP: NEW RATES LARGELY BENEFIT VACATION HOMES. In a press release, the American Consumer Institute for Citizen Research said that, with 97 percent of new residential rates phasing in this year affecting second homes, “it goes without saying that people who are wealthy enough to have multiple homes do not need government subsidies to afford insurance coverage. Instead of bailing out these beach houses, the government should be helping those who truly cannot pay for higher rates.”

SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition made up of a diverse set of voices united to support environmentally-responsible, fiscally-sound approaches that promote public safety. The Coalition strongly opposes legislative proposals that encourage people to build homes in hurricane-prone, environmentally-sensitive areas by creating new programs that directly or indirectly subsidize their homeowner’s insurance.