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Support Builds for National Catastrophe Plan


(850) 413-2842 
TALLAHASSEE – Tom Gallagher, Florida's chief financial officer, today 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.
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As a statewide elected officer of the Florida Cabinet, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher oversees the Department of Financial Services, a multi-division state agency responsible for management of state funds and unclaimed property, assisting consumers who request information and help related to financial services, and investigating financial fraud. Gallagher also serves as the State Fire Marshal.