Tester floats common-sense flood insurance solution

Senator: Flexible policy will save money, keep Montanans safe

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is pushing FEMA to be flexible as it implements bipartisan flood insurance reform.

Congress reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program in 2012, but certain provisions of the law continue to be ironed out. One provision that requires insurance companies to provide policy holders with certain information could drive up costs by $1 million per company through increased printing and postage costs.

At a Senate hearing this week, Tester pushed FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to let policyholders choose to receive the information electronically, which would save money and still get policyholders the information they need.

“If we can advance this issue I think helps policyholders with affordability, and affordability is the big concern,” Tester said. “This is a common-sense solution to a typical Washington problem.”

“We’re currently working on this – there is some pushback in the House,” Fugate told Tester. “But I think we’re going to get a compromise on both sides, but we want to make sure there are no barriers to anyone who wants their policy in print or preclude people from getting it paperless.”

The provision, which applies to all new or renewed policies, requires each policy to state the conditions, exclusions and coverage limitations in plain English, in boldface type and in a large font size.

Tester also pressed the issue when he met with FEMA’s Deputy Administrator nominee Joseph Nimmich on Thursday.

The National Flood Insurance Program was established in 1968. Earlier this year, Tester teamed up with Senator Dean Heller (R-N.V.) to introduce a bill that would increase Montanans’ flood insurance options by accelerating the development of a private flood insurance market.