WASHINGTON, D.C., May 9, 2012 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today testified before the United State Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy at a hearing titled, “The National Flood Insurance Program: The Need for Long-Term Reauthorization and Reform.”
Jon Jensen, an independent agent from South Carolina and chairman of the IIABA government affairs committee, represented the association and was the only agent/broker witness at the hearing. Jensen is president of Correll Insurance Group.
In his testimony, Jensen 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. He also stressed that the marketplace, and the NFIP’s 5.6 million consumers, are increasingly frustrated with the nature of the short-term extensions granted to the program and that they deserve the stability granted by a long-term extension. This discussion was particularly timely given that the program is set to expire at the end of the month.
Jensen said the program is “far from perfect, which was made all the more clear by the devastating 2005 hurricane season. The current $17.2 billion dollar debt, incurred in 2005, reveals some of the deficiencies of the program and has strained government resources. While IIABA is confident that the NFIP will recover, it is important that Congress shore up the NFIP’s financial foundation and use this opportunity to enact needed reforms to ensure the long-term sustainability of the program.”
Jensen also outlined why the Big "I" strongly supports S. 1940, the “Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2011,” by Chairman Tim Johnson, which the Senate Banking Committee reported out unanimously last year. The association also supports H.R. 1309, the “Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011,” similar legislation which passed the House of Representatives with more than 400 votes last year.
“We believe that while there are some differences between the Senate and House bills, these minor differences could be overcome by policymakers with a modest amount of effort,” said Jensen.
For the full text of the Jensen testimony, click HERE
for more information about the hearing 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 approximately a quarter of a million 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.