Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Flood, Earthquake... Can We Hold Off On The Fire, Please?

A couple of recent news items highlight the relationship between insurance and government. No, it's not all railing by posturing politicians against the evil soulless corporate machine, although there have been times recently when it's sure seemed that way.

In California, Glenn Pomeroy, head of the California Earthquake Authority, is asking for federal assistance in the form of it providing a repayment guarantee on any loans taken out by the CEA should this be necessary to cover claims from a major earthquake. Pomeroy has stated should this guarantee be in place, the CEA would be able to reduce the premium it currently charges. Which, in a word, is high. How high? Last year the average price in earthquake-prone areas such as Riverside and San Bernardino County hit $801.

Meanwhile, an area in which the federal government is much more directly involved, namely flood insurance, is currently hanging in legislative limbo. The National Flood Insurance Program, which offers flood insurance to property owners living in communities participating in the program, lapsed on March twenty-eighth of this year due to fighting between Democrats, who tacked additional legislation on to the bill plus wishing for it to be categorized as an emergency funding bill which would add its cost to the national debt, and Republicans who insisted the funding should come from already allocated albeit unspent stimulus funds. Meanwhile, people trying to close on houses they wish to buy which are in flood areas, therefore are required to have flood insurance, have one more headache to deal with on top of the struggle many homebuyers presently face. The National Association of Realtors commented in a press release, "Flood insurance is required by law for home sales mortgages on properties located in the 100-year floodplain areas, which are left unprotected by this lack of congressional action. Until Congress renews this program, worthy buyers will be left without access to mortgages."

And insurance providers are the bad guys?

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