WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11, 2011 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance and Housing at a hearing titled, “Legislative Proposals to Reform the National Flood Insurance Program.”
Spencer M. Houldin, an independent agent from Connecticut, chairman of the IIABA government affairs committee, and the Connecticut representative on the IIABA Board of Directors, represented the association. Houldin is president of Ericson Insurance, a 75 year old, second generation independent agency with offices in Connecticut and New York.
In his testimony, Houldin outlined the reasons why the Big “I” believes Congress should modernize the program and shore up its finances to better protect consumers in the future. The needed reforms he discussed include a long-term extension, removing subsidies and moving towards risk based rates on most properties, modernizing coverages, and increasing maximum coverage limits. This discussion was particularly timely given this week’s unfortunate widespread flooding on the east coast and the tsunami warnings and advisories on the west coast.
Houldin said the program was far from perfect but that “it is also important to note that for almost two decades, up until the 2005 hurricane season, no taxpayer money had been used to support the NFIP; rather, the NFIP was able to support itself using the funds from the premiums it collected every year.”
Houldin also outlined why the Big "I" is pleased with the draft legislation by Insurance and Housing Chairman Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) titled the “Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011.” The bill includes many of the provisions the Big “I” supports to improve the NFIP. Independent agents serve as the sales force for the NFIP by working with the Write Your Own companies and provide a unique vantage point to discuss the program.
The Big “I” was the only agent & broker association testifying at the hearing. Houldin testified along with the administrator of the NFIP, the managing director of the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and representatives from National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC), Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), the National Association of REALTORS®, and National Association of Home Builders, among others.
For the full text of the Houldin’s testimony, click HERE.
Click HERE for more information about the hearing, including draft text of the ‘Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011’ and a full witness list.
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: www.independentagent.com.