WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24, 2008—The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) applauds House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and other members of the Committee for approving the Community Building Code Administration Grant Act of 2008, designed to encourage communities to establish and enforce strong building codes by offering federal grants.
The bill introduced by Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.) would establish a Community Building Code Administration Grant Program, which would provide awards to local governments for building code administration and enforcement.
Specifically, the bill authorizes the program to give out $100 million over a five-year period with awards capped at $1 million per recipient jurisdiction. States and towns will also be required to match a portion of the funds awarded, and the bill outlines eligible uses of funds and selection criteria, with preference offered to governments in financial distress.
“The Big ‘I’ is pleased that the Committee has approved this natural disaster legislation,” says Charles E. Symington, Jr., Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “Strong building codes are the first defense against the damage caused by natural disasters, and we applaud the Committee for taking decisive action to help communities secure their residents against the ongoing threat of natural disasters.”
The Big “I” has been a leader in advocating for natural disaster solutions, testifying on several occasions before the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Banking Committee on the need for Congress to take steps to put both prevention and response plans in place before a major natural disaster occurs, instead of the current system of responding to these events after the fact.
“As the representatives of the independent insurance agents who sell homeowners’ insurance, we feel it is important that Congress provides incentives for communities to put in place strong building codes,” says John Prible, Big “I” assistant vice president for federal government affairs. “Studies have shown time and again that proper mitigation through strong building codes protects both human life and property during major natural disasters, and we are pleased that the Financial Services Committee has chosen to provide local communities with more resources needed to institute these safety measures.”
Founded in 1896, IIABA (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, and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.