The Sun Herald, 7/27/7

The House Financial Services Committee voted Thursday to make a dramatic change in federal disaster insurance by expanding the national flood insurance program to cover wind damage.

The 38-29 vote, largely along party lines, in favor of the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007 was spurred by a pledge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., made after Hurricane Katrina to the coastal communities of Mississippi and Louisiana.

The vote is a personal victory for Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, who lost his home in Katrina. Taylor has made it a crusade to explain to members how the current system creates a shortfall with private insurance companies covering wind damage and the federal government covering water, resulting in a bias by insurers who administer the flood program to label all damage “water.”