he Obama administration has quietly told Congress that it “strongly opposes” federal wind insurance legislation — surprising a Mississippi lawmaker who lost his home to Hurricane Katrina and who’s spent more than two years fighting for wind coverage.
The legislation would permit homeowners who participate in the federal national flood insurance program to purchase wind coverage at actuarially set rates.
Homeowners in hurricane-prone states like Florida, the Carolinas and Texas have found wind coverage either expensive or impossible to find, forcing many states to form wind pools or, in the case of Florida, a state-owned insurance provider.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. has been a strong backer of the legislation, which passed the House of Representatives last session by a wide margin as part of the flood insurance reauthorization. It failed, however, in a lopsided 74-19 Senate vote.
A shell-shocked Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., said he learned just a few days ago that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Craig Fugate, the nominee to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, had written lawmakers in opposition to Taylor’s legislation.
“I’m obviously extremely disappointed,” Taylor told McClatchy,” that an administration that ran on ‘change you can believe in’ did this without taking the time to talk to us.”
“I’m particularly angry that they’re bailing out AIG, but when it comes to the excessive cost of wind coverage, they’re not helping the people of coastal areas,” he said. American International Group is one of the nation’s largest insurers.