Insurance legislation would benefit Marylanders

May 20, 2010

The recent op-ed "Insurance bill would be a disaster for Maryland" (May 19) was wrong on its facts. The authors recklessly ignore the reality of America's vulnerability to catastrophe and glossed over the fact that the current system forces taxpayers in Maryland to bailout victims of catastrophes in other parts of the nation.

Indeed, following Hurricane Katrina, more than $26 billion of taxpayer funds were siphoned from the federal coffers to pay for uninsured and underinsured properties.

The Homeowners' Defense Act wouldn't force Maryland taxpayers into the proposed pre-funded and privately funded catastrophe backstop. Participation would be optional; nothing would force Maryland into the consortium.

Because the voluntary consortium would share risk between participating states, the never ending cross subsidies that are inherent in the current system would be minimized. That would be a huge benefit to every taxpayer in Maryland.

The contention by the Sierra Club that by lowering insurance bills by a few hundred dollars a year would encourage development in high risk areas is simply ludicrous. Savings of a few hundred dollars a year in their insurance is important to consumers, but it is certainly is not their motivation for building or buying a home that may cost several hundred thousand dollars. Additionally, this argument completely ignores the fact that a majority of Americans are already living in harm's way.

Finally, the Homeowners' Defense Act mandates better loss mitigation and responsible land use regulation. These are the programs, not ever increasing insurance rates, that will protect our vital ecological resources.

Bradley S. Brewster, Washington

The writer is executive director of ProtectingAmerica.org.

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