State Fire Marshal Gallagher with firefighters
Volume 3 Number 5
January 30, 2006

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SUPPORT BUILDS FOR NATIONAL CATASTROPHE PLAN

Tom Gallagher, Florida’s chief financial officer, said he welcomed and is encouraged by new support from both the public and private sectors for creating a national catastrophic property insurance fund. A national catastrophe fund is one of several solutions Gallagher proposed last November to strengthen Florida’s insurance market and to better protect homeowners.  Gallagher first proposed the creation of a national catastrophe fund more than 13 years ago.

“Following Hurricane Andrew, I saw the need for our nation to prepare for catastrophic events.  I’m encouraged to see growing support and momentum building for a national catastrophe plan,” Gallagher said.  “With 115 major disaster declarations in more than 30 different states over the past two years, a national safety net will better protect and serve homeowners across the country if a devastating catastrophe strikes.” 
 

Last week, Colorado Insurance Commissioner David Rivera said it is time for a discussion on how we can pre-fund disasters and handle catastrophic losses in a more pro-active manner.  The chief executives of three of the largest national insurance companies are also expressing support for the creation of a national catastrophe program.

Insurance commissioners from Florida, New York, Illinois, and California held a summit last November to begin development of a national catastrophe fund.  The summit was followed with action by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to adopt a resolution supporting a national catastrophe plan.  The National Association of Realtors continues to support a National Catastrophe Plan.

Legislation to create such a fund has been filed in Congress by Florida Representatives Ginny Brown-Waite and Clay Shaw.

In addition, USA Today, The Miami Herald, The St. Petersburg Times, The Orlando Sentinel and The South Florida Sun-Sentinel are just a few of the leading national news publications that have published editorials supporting a national catastrophe fund.

The problem of affordability and availability of homeowners insurance continues as a major national insurer has elected to stop offering new policies in areas of New York – including New York City, Westchester County and Long Island – due to hurricane and wind storm risk.