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Wind cover sponsor 'confident' of add to NFIP


WASHINGTON--The chief sponsor of a bill that would require the National Flood Insurance Program to offer windstorm coverage for both commercial and residential policyholders says he feels "confident it will make it through the House."

The idea also has the support of key senators such as Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., Monday during a Capitol Hill discussion of the state of the wind insurance market in the Gulf Coast. The House Financial Services Committee last week gave its approval to the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, which calls for the windstorm offering.

Smaller businesses along the Gulf Coast have faced more severe property rate increases than their larger counterparts, said Lloyd Dixon, a senior economist at the RAND Corp. in Santa Monica, Calif., who participated in the discussion. Mr. Dixon, who co-authored a report on the Gulf wind insurance market that was released a few days ago, also said the price hikes reflected smaller companies' lack of geographical diversity and their relatively weak bargaining position when dealing with insurers.

He added that the tight commercial property market on the Gulf has led increasing numbers of commercial policyholders to turn to surplus lines insurers and residual markets in their search for coverage.