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Bush administration opposes federal wind cover


WASHINGTON--The Bush administration opposes legislation that would expand the National Flood Insurance Program to offer windstorm as well as flood coverage, a Treasury official said Tuesday.

In an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity, Phillip Swagel, assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy, said the bipartisan Multiple Peril Insurance Act of 2007 would lead to "costly inefficiences and retard innovation" in the private market.

The private market is effective in providing wind cover, Mr. Swagel said. Getting the federal government involved in the wind insurance market "could give rise to a large new burden on federal taxpayers," he said.

The bill would allow businesses and homeowners to add wind coverage to their NFIP flood policies. The bill's backers say a federal role is needed to provide adequate and fairly priced property insurance in coastal areas.

The measure is opposed by much, but not all, of the property/casualty insurance industry.