Ideas presented at forum for flood-insurance overhaul
Frustrated by Senate inaction, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker stepped up his role in the coastal insurance debate Thursday, hosting an insurance forum that presented ideas for an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program that were new to the audience.
Approaches to insure against catastrophic risk varied, but two thoughts appeared universal: The current insurance system does not work for low-frequency, high-severity events such as Hurricane Katrina, and property owners can expect a stable and affordable insurance market only if they fortify their homes against hurricane damage.
Wicker said after the forum he hopes to build momentum for a Senate hearing on comprehensive coverage for catastrophic events. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., has not followed through on promises that the Banking Committee he chairs will hold a hearing on the issue.
It’s very frustrating,” Wicker said. “We think it is absolutely time for people who are not on the Banking Committee to become proactive on this.”
He said he wanted people who have thought deeply about catastrophic coverage to talk to Coast residents who deal daily with the issue.
Wicker introduced members of Wharton’s Risk Management Center at the University of Pennsylvania, who talked about an NFIP overhaul. They suggest flood insurance should be mandatory for property owners in flood-prone areas — not just those with federally insured mortgages.