U.S. Senators Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) this week reintroduced two efforts to ensure Floridians and other Americans are protected during hurricanes and other natural disasters. One effort provides a tax credit to homeowners who take steps to mitigate damage caused by natural disasters. The other effort streamlines regulatory barriers faced by insurance companies doing business in disaster-prone areas.
"Flying debris compounds storm damage. Encouraging Floridians to better prepare their homes against hurricane damage helps increase the safety of homeowners, it reduces insurance rates, and provides a safer environment should the need arise to shelter in place," said Martinez. "We also need to streamline segments of the insurance industry - specifically those areas where insurance is unaffordable or unavailable through traditional channels."
"Floridians have been hit by declining real estate, high property taxes and all the other problems from this tough economy - and on top of that, they're having to pay through the nose for hurricane insurance," Nelson said. "They need relief, and we have to keep trying to find ways to give it to them."
Senators Martinez and Nelson introduced the two bills this week as part of their "Hurricane Six Pack" of proposals addressing ways to improve hurricane preparedness and response, cost mitigation, and the creation of a national catastrophe fund.
The two measures introduced are:
The Nonadmitted and Reinsurance Reform Act - a Senate companion to a House bill introduced by Dennis Moore (D-KS) and cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). The measure is aimed specifically at streamlining and reducing barriers in state regulation of the nonadmitted insurance and reinsurance. It will create a uniform system, while preserving the role of the state regulator; and
The Hurricane and Tornado Mitigation Investment Act - the Senate companion to a House bill introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor). The measure provides a tax credit, equal to 25 percent, of mitigation expenditures. This preventative measure will lessen the impact disasters have on lives and property.