Bid Would Extend Flood Coverage ToUninsured Katrina Victims

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WASHINGTON - (10/03/05) -- A bill introduced in the House lastweek would allow hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Louisiana,Mississippi and Alabama, whose houses were destroyed by floodingafter Hurricane Katrina, to retroactively obtain coverage under theFederal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood InsuranceProgram. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., and 28other Democrats, would allow uninsured owners of residences andbusinesses in the three states to acquire retroactive coverage inexchange for payment of 10 years of premiums and a 5% premium,according to Brian Morton, legislative director for Rep. Taylor.Taylor was meeting with Republican leaders last week, includingLouisiana Rep. Richard Baker, Michael Oxley, chairman of the HouseFinancial Services Committee, and Mississippi Senators Trent Lottand Thad Cochran, to try to enlist their critical support. Abailout of uninsured property owners in the Gulf States would costtens of billions of dollars as FEMA has estimated that more than350,000 homes and businesses destroyed by post-Katrina flooding didnot have coverage under the NFIP, the only flood insurance carrierin the country. "We're still trying to figure out the costestimates," Morton told The Credit Union Journal. The lack of floodinsurance for storm-hit states could cost credit unions, banks andother mortgage lenders billions of dollars in losses if the federalgovernment does not step in. CUNA said last week it endorsed theTaylor bill. Though one CUNA lobbyist told The Credit Union Journalwithout Republican support the bill's chances of passage arenil.

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