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Big "I" Supports Bill to Establish Disaster Commission


Legislation would give independent agents, brokers a place at the table


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 27, 2006—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) expresses its strong support for the introduction of a bipartisan natural-disaster commission bill late Wednesday in the House of Representatives.


H.R. 5891, the Catastrophic Disaster Risk and Insurance Commission Act, was introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.), and cosponsored by nine representatives from both sides of the aisle, including Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.). Conceptually, it is similar to the Commission on Natural Disaster Risk and Insurance Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in May. The legislation would establish a 17-member bipartisan commission and include an independent insurance agent as part of that commission.


Rep. Wasserman-Schultz’s legislation would establish a national commission that is tasked with recommending policies to help the federal government prepare for and manage disaster response, mitigate future costs, reduce the likelihood of fraud and abuse in a federal repayment program, and hedge any risk exposure assumed by the federal government in the adoption of a national catastrophe program.


“Independent insurance agents and brokers are an integral part of the insurance marketplace, and this commission would give a crucial part of the industry a place at the table in the process of making important public policy,” says Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs and federal relations. “Our members serve as the conduit between consumers and insurance companies, and they understand from experience the marketplace disruption caused by natural disasters. We truly appreciate the work of Reps. Wasserman-Schultz, Castle, McHenry, Melancon and all the other bipartisan cosponsors of this important bill, and we thank them for including independent agents on this proposed commission.”


Founded in 1896, the Big “I” is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address:





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