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Bill calls for NFIP to offer multiperil cover


WASHINGTON—Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., has drafted legislation that would create a multiperil insurance program—including commercial insurance—within the National Flood Insurance Program.

According to a letter to colleagues circulated by Rep. Taylor, the optional program would offer coverage of wind and flood damage in one insurance policy. Nonresidential properties could be covered up to $1 million for structure and $750,000 for contents and business interruption. Lower limits would be available on personal lines policies. Premiums would be risk-based, said Rep. Taylor's letter.

"Once the program is enacted, a private market should quickly develop for policies above the limits," according to Rep. Taylor's letter.

The proposal, however, drew criticism from the insurance industry.

"If this bill had been enacted prior to Hurricane Katrina, it's hard to fathom the level of exposure federal taxpayers would have faced," said Justin Roth, senior director-federal affairs in the National Assn. of Mutual Insurance Cos.' Washington office.