Posted on 01 Apr 2010
With communities in many northeastern states experiencing heavy rains and flooding, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is offering information to citizens on how to recover from damages as speedily and efficiently as possible.
"As the storms moved through, insurance companies mobilized to assist policyholders," said Frank O'Brien, PCI's vice president, state government relations. "These claims professionals are on the ground in the damage zones and are dedicated to helping families and businesses quickly resolve problems, file claims and begin the process of recovering from this devastating event."
O’Brien said it is still too early to provide a solid insured property damage estimate. Due to the nature of the storms, much of the damage will be covered if consumers purchased flood insurance, which is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Although the NFIP lapsed March 28 due to Congressional inaction, those who had already purchased coverage before that date remain covered as long as a 30-day waiting period after purchase has been met.
Floods are the most common natural disasters to occur in the United States and spring storms serve as yet another reminder that all Americans, not just those in coastal states, need the protection provided by NFIP. Unfortunately, this vital program lapsed last week for the second time in as many months. Reauthorizing the NFIP must be addressed as soon as Congress returns from its current recess. PCI urges lawmakers to consider a long-term extension this year that addresses the program’s fiscal soundness and protects homeowners.
In addition to immediate reauthorization, PCI supports substantive reform of the NFIP which will result in a more efficient, cost-effective and self-sustaining program to protect homes and businesses which may be in danger of damage from flooding. The NFIP is not fiscally sound, with approximately $20 billion of debt, which is a significant drain on the program. PCI supports Congressional efforts to make the NFIP more actuarially sound, including the gradual elimination of subsidies, and also supports 5-year NFIP extension periods, which are included in Senate and House bills that passed in 2007 and 2008.