Information about Federal & State actions on coastal insurance legislation
HHII Activities Legislative Happenings

HHII IDENTIFIES NEXT STEPS FOR PASSAGE OF SB2

At its meeting March 4, the HHII Steering Board identified steps needed to expedite passage of SB2, The Property Insurance Clarity Bill.  These included:

  • Letter writing campaign to impress upon Governor Bentley the magnitude of the crisis
    (You can help by writing; click link to see a sample letter
    )
  • Educate House & Senate Banking & Insurance Committee members on need for reform and the Clarity Bill
  • Continue building a network of allies (realtors, churches, home-builders, retired teachers, bankers, insurance agents, etc.) that are affected by high premiums and unreliable insurance companies.
  •  Grow HHII membership in coastal counties

Read the full meeting notes here .
Remember, Steering Board meetings are open to all who are interested in achieving HHII's goals.

Posted 3/12/2011

BILL PENDING IN CONGRESS ENCOURAGES
ENFORCEMENT OF STRICTER BUILDING CODES

The Safe Building Codes Incentives Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., offers an extra 4 percent in federal disaster grants to states that adopt strong building codes, potentially lessening disaster damage.

At present, codes in Alabama do not go far enough to allow it to qualify nor could it become eligible by making minor changes to the codes or their enforcement.

The office of Gov. Robert Bentley did not discuss the bill in detail but expressed support for strict building standards.

Jennifer Ardis, Bentley's press secretary, said in a statement "The governor believes that Alabama building codes deserve serious consideration given the natural disaster that the state just experienced."

Read original 6/27 article by George Altman
Read MPR 6/29/2011 editorial

Read more about some of the issues related with fortified construction

 Revised 6/29/2011

Bill would let feds decide wind vs. water on hurricane damage

Read complete article by George Altman, MPR Washington Bureau

Federal officials would determine the extent to which wind, as opposed to flooding, contributed to the damage of homes destroyed by hurricanes, under a bill filed May 26 by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Tupelo.

Wicker said that the bill could get claims money to homeowners more quickly and easily by lessening the likelihood of legal battles with insurance companies, and could ease the burden on the deeply indebted National Flood Insurance Program.

"Great uncertainty surrounds the issue of wind versus water in allocating responsibility for property damage," Wicker said in a conference call with reporters.

He said that his bill -- the COASTAL Act -- would "provide more certainty to the marketplace" and "ensure that total losses from the next major storm and major storms in the future are settled in a fair and timely manner."

The COASTAL Act, an acronym for Consumer Option for an Alternative System to Allocate Losses, would require the U.S. secretary of homeland security, using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to make wind-vs.-water decisions following damage from named hurricanes.

Posted 6/1/2011

HB76 Surplus Lines Insurance Multi-State Compliance Compact

This bill is pending action in the Alabama House Insurance Committee.  It appears to have been intoduced in responses to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Read the complete bill.

Posted 4/6/2011

SENATOR BROOKS SPONSORS INSURANCE BILLS

Senator Brooks is shown on the Alabama Legislative Information System as sponsor for the following bills assigned to  the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.

SB1 - Catastrophe savings account, established, to cover insurance deductibles and other uninsured portions of risks of loss to owners of residential property owners from windstorm events, income tax credit for deposits made to account.

SB2 - Insurance Department, required to collect information from insurance companies on homeowners insurance policies and premiums by counties and zip code and post aggregate information on website, penalties for insurance companies not in compliance, Property Insurance Clarity Act (This is HHII Clarity Bill).

SB3 - Homeowners insurance, carriers required to disclose actual costs of each item of coverage in annual renewal policy package, both as cost per $1,000 coverage and actual cost of each item of coverage, Homeowner's Insurance Cost Transparency Act.

SB4 - Homeowners insurance, rate filings and related actuarial information for homeowners property insurance coverage in Alabama are public record, review available in office of Insurance Commissioner and via Insurance Department Internet website.

SB5 - Homeowners insurance, counties contiguous to Mobile Bay and Gulf of Mexico, credits against insurance premium taxes for private property carriers who write coverage in Zones 1,2,3, and 4, geographic areas covered by Alabama Insurance Underwriting Association.

SB6 - Coastal area properties, income tax credit the lessor of 25 percent of costs or $1,500 for retrofit improvements to homes to help withstand hurricane and windstorm damages.

SB7 - Property insurers, commercial and residential, disclosure of discounts for construction or improvements to property to withstand windstorm damage.

Revised & reposted  4/1/2011

SENATOR BROOKS TAKES UP
PROPERTY INSURANCE CLARITY BILL*

* Previously known as Transparency Bill

Senator Brooks is in Montgomery and has indicated he wants to work on this bill.  Dan has provided him with the latest version and the new title.

Posted 1/11/2011

HHII INTERVIEWS LEGISLATORS

HHII representatives have held meetings with Representatives Lagnaippe, & Shiver and Senator Brooks recently to encourage their continued support.

Sen. Brooks committed to sponsor the Transparency Bill - Great!!! He is ready to submit our bill yesterday!!!  He suggested that while the Legislature is having a special session on ethics in December, a small contingent come up to Montgomery and he would set up appointments for us and Sen. Brooks to visit with new Legislators so they can hear the stories and the facts that we have been able to gather in 3 years.  Sen. Brooks is definitely singing a new song!!  And there is much more! 

Revised 12/21/2010

HHII RESEARCH MEETING WITH REPRESENTATIVE FAUST

Several HHII members met with Representative Joe Faust in his office November 21, 2010. Faust remains supportive of Transparency Bill and is willing to sponsor it in the 2011 legislative session. He thinks the CRCAL insurance subcommittee hearings were a sham and a ploy to grab a piece of the BP oil spill compensation pie. He spoke positively of Governor-elect Bentley and said he was confident Bentley would decide who would get any BP money. Faust thinks Bentley will pick a good choice for Insurance commissioner. Faust had suggested some names. He did not think they had made the cut but any of the individuals he had heard mentioned would be acceptable to him. Faust is convinced insurance companies do not want coastal Baldwin County's business and still pushing a captive insurance solution. This is clearly dear to his heart and we can expect to hear more from him on it.

 Posted 12/21/2010

Coastal insurance reform could get boost from Republican victory

This month’s (November, 2010) election in Alabama swept into power some of the biggest advocates of coastal insurance overhaul legislation, threw out some of its biggest opponents, including Sen. Lowell Barron, and may have dramatically altered the prospects for such bills in the State House.

Read complete George Altman 11/15/2010 article

Posted 11/16/2010

Mobile Press Register Article on Sen. Barron's Action

Mr. Altman wrote a very good article about a senate hearing on the Transparency bill. The people who are paying outrageous premiums for homeowners insurance thank you for that coverage. More people need to know that there is a solution. Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative (HHII) is working hard to achieve equity in insurance premiums.

If Senator Barron had been able to overcome the noise of Insurance money he would have heard a reasoned presentation by the Homeowners Hurricane Insurance Initiative people. If he had cared to listen he would have found out that there is plenty of reason to question what the Insurance companies are saying about risk being greater on the coast. He would have heard that 65% of the damages paid out after Ivan were north of Baldwin Co. He would have heard that widows who paid insurance all their life with no claims are being dropped. He would have heard statistics on the economic impact of the $200 million overcharges to Mobile and Baldwin county homeowners. Those premiums mostly go out of state and out of our country to large insurance companies and re-insurance companies. He would have heard the Chamber of Commerce testify about the difficulties that businesses are having because of the inflated premiums.

Mr Barron is immune to the pain of the Habitat for Humanity folks who can’t pay the ridiculously high insurance premiums because he is comfortably nestled in Insurance Company money. He is insulated against the chill of seeing people lose their homes and businesses.

Defending his vote, Senator Barron attempts to belittle and minimize the efforts by Senators Brooks and Pittman. "That doesn't do anything," Barron said. "All of this looks like political grandstanding, to me." If it is just “political grandstanding” why have the Insurance Companies been so strongly against any insurance reform legislation? HHII, a faith based community organization, which is part of ACT II, is actively working in Mobile and Baldwin Counties to learn about the problem and to work for solutions. Senator Pittman and Representative Faust filed our Transparency bill that would provide to the public information about premiums and claims that would help us determine if the coast is at more risk, and if so how much. Our investigation indicates that there may be no more risk. In the past ten years we have had two hurricanes, but according to NOAH the state has had 220 tornadoes. 220 tornadoes cause a lot of destruction.

Three other states already provide this information to the public on web pages. Insurance companies have the information we are asking for, they need it to make business decisions. Our request does not cost them anything. But, they must believe that if we know what they know, we will see that they are overcharging everybody in the State of Alabama.

Original Post

Senator Barron & State Banking & Insurance Committee kill all HHII supported coastal insurance bills in Senate.

Read article in MPR 4/1/2010


Read Pr. Craig Bowyer's reaction
Read Pr. Craig Bower's letter to the MPR editor (not published)
Read Editorial in MPR 4/8

We should take it as a huge honor that the largest lobbying firm would focus on the DOI transparency bill for a public hearing.  F & G are perfectly able to sink any bill without a public hearing.  Did they sink our ship?  ARE WE THE SNOWBALLS THAT DON’T MELT????  You bet!  We must be on to something right if Senator L. Barron took his precious time to come to a committee meeting and Mr. Getting himself attended. 

Original Post

HHII 11/10/09 Meeting with Local Representatives

Despite tropical storm Ida, around 150 homeowner's came to The Gathering Place in Spanish Fort to share their stories of how dramatic insurance premium increases or loss of coverage is impacting their lives.  Representatives Davis & Faust and Senators McMillan & Pittman gave an update on what they have been able to do to try to bring insurance premiums down and each signed covenants committing their support of some or all the bills HHII has proposed.

  See pictures      Watch WKRG News video

Original Post

Representative Joe Faust agrees to sponsor Model Bill

Fifteen representatives from HHII met with Rep. Faust on September 3 to research his position on several of our concerns.  

Background – In March 2009, ACT-II went to Montgomery and testified before the House and Senate. At the end of the meeting Rep. Leslie Vance, the chair of the Insurance and Banking committee said, “If the insurance companies do not clean house, we will have to clean house for them.”  

Then, after the first special hearing on homeowners’ insurance in June, Rep. Vance mentioned to two ACT-II members that he believed the same insurance product needed to be the same price all over Alabama. These ACT-II members called over a bunch more ACT-II members and asked Rep. Vance to repeat what he said and he did.  

On August 18th, a small group of ACT-II people had a research meeting with Rep. Vance and Rep. Grimes. They supported the ideas in the Model bills, believed that they could get it out of committee and probably the House. They asked that we check with our South Baldwin Legislators and if they did not want to sponsor the bill, Rep. Vance would.  

At our meeting, Rep. Faust agreed to the following: 

  1. Rep. Faust will pre-file the three model bills in about two weeks. (Note: the bill about weather phenomena not covered by wind and hail insurance will not be submitted at this time. (LRS 2009-3234))

  2. Rep. Faust will help us get an appointment with Senator Denton.

  3. Rep. Faust said that he would be willing to pre-file two more bills once drafted concerning transparency and AL taking leadership in forming a Southeastern States coastal band or compact. It was agreed that this was not highest priority and we will focus on this  after the Model bills are submitted.

  4. Rep. Faust confirmed he will be at the HHII follow up meeting on Nov. 10th. LTBA

  5. At his own suggestion, Rep. Faust will arrange for us to meet with Gov. Riley. Once he secures this appointment, he will then turn the crafting of the meeting over to ACT-II.

  6. Rep. Faust said that he would help us secure an appointment with Republican Gubernatorial candidates, specifically Bradley Byrne.

Original Post

Summary of research appointments with Rep. Faust, Davis, McMillan and Senator Pittman in Fall 2009.

The following questions were asked at each meeting:  

  1.  Will you come out to a small representative group on Nov. 10th at 7pm as you promised on April 6th?
    Faust – yes
    Davis – yes
    McMillan – yes
    Pittman - yes

  2. Have you seen the HHII model bills and do you believe that they will significantly lower our premiums if enacted?
    Davis and McMillan – yes and it will reduce rates (it will be tough to pass)
    Pittman – Will you introduce in the Senate?  I need more details. It could.

  3.  How can you be supportive of Rep. Faust’s commitment to pre-file these bills?
    Davis – will sign the bills and continue to educate the legislators
    McMillan will sign the 50 and 100% difference bills and educate
    Pittman – “I think I can get votes in the Senate” will talk to colleagues

  4. Rep. Faust has promised to also pre-file two more bills, How can you be supportive of Rep. Faust’s efforts?
    One having to do with transparency of the data and actuarial models that the insurance companies and the department of Insurance use in their decision making processes.
    F – yes
    D – yes
    M – yes
    P – yes, but need to see bill first
    The other bill having to do with Alabama taking leadership in forming a task force that will explore a Southeastern States insurance compact or coastal band that will form a special insurance district.
    F – yes
    D – yes
    M – yes
    P – yes, but need to see bill first

  5. What legislative actions will you be taking this next session that will significantly lower our premiums?
    Faust -
    Davis – Zone by zone, composition of AIUA board
    McMillan – seasoning, deductible only on named storm, consumer advocate

 

Earlier posts can be found on the archive page

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Page last modified 6/15/2011