Washington Update: Senators Oppose
Flood Provision; Frank to Retire
BY ARTHUR D. POSTAL
THE SENATE BANKING Committee is being urged to drop a provision in flood-insurancelegislation that would
require homeowners and businesses to purchase federal flood coverage even if their
properties are protected by levees.
“Areas protected by properly constructed
and maintained levees, dams and other
flood-control infrastructure should not be
arbitrarily declared areas of special flood
hazard,” reads a letter to the committee
from 13 senators on both sides of the aisle.
Others vocally disagree. Ray Lehmann,
a vice president of the Heartland Institute,
which consults with the insurance
industry on catastrophe issues, said levees
and other mitigation structures sometimes
fail, and it is irresponsible public policy
not to recognize that reality.
“We saw the devastating consequence
of doing so most acutely in the wake of
Hurricane Katrina, when scores of
homeowners found they were inadequately
insured because they faced no requirement
to purchase flood protection,” Lehmann said.
The senators’ letter asked the commit-
tee’s leadership to remove the provision
in the Senate’s version of a long-term NFIP
extension, “The Flood Insurance Reform
and Modernization Act.”
The bill passed the committee Sept.
8, but floor action has been held up
because Senate leaders of both parties
are using the bill as an engine to attach
REP. BARNEY FRANK TO RETIRE
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., one of the
primary authors of the financial-services
reform legislation passed by Congress last
year, said he will not return after his term
ends in 2013. Frank will have served 32
years in Congress.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is next in
line to succeed Frank as ranking minority
member of the House Financial Services
Committee. Waters, however, is under
scrutiny by the House Ethics Committee
for her role in aiding a troubled bank in
which her husband owns stock.
Next in line is Rep. Carolyn Maloney,
Frank, 71, had said in February that
he would run for re-election, but said
he changed his mind after his district
was changed to include several more
conservative areas. Frank told reporters he
was too old to campaign in a new district
and to represent hundreds of thousands of
BY CHAD HEMENWAY
HURRICANE IRENE appears to have a better chance of cracking a list of the Top 10 most costly U.S. hurricanes after a sizable increase in estimated
losses was released from Property Claims
Verisk Analytics’ PCS has raised its
estimate of insured-property losses from the
late August storm 18 percent to $4.3 billion.
PCS, which originally released an
estimate of $3.65 billion, continues to
monitor insurers’ daily reports of claims
from many areas. Irene, either as a
hurricane or tropical storm, impacted more
than a dozen states on the East Coast.
$6 billion in insured losses in the U.S.
from Hurricane Irene—meaning the storm
could move ahead of the
ninth costliest hurricane,
Frances, also in 2004.
Frances caused $5.25
billion in insured losses.
Eqecat said the U.S. can
expect $1.5 billion to $2.8
billion in insured losses
from Hurricane Irene, and
modeler Risk Management
Solutions submitted an estimate of $2
billion and $4.5 billion in the U.S. NU
PCS’ revised estimate of
from Hurricane Irene,
up 18 percent from its
original estimate of