Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), testified Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Development as part of the hearing titled “The Flood Insurance Claims Process in Communities After Sandy: Lessons Learned and Potential Improvements.”
Griffin said that policyholders are the top priority for “Write Your Own” (WYO) insurers. “We want a program that works to protect policyholders and that is simple enough for everyone in the marketplace to understand, so that consumers know what they need to buy, agents can explain how the coverage works, and insurers can correctly service the program.”
Griffin’s testimony highlighted several lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy as well as potential areas of reform.
“In the immediate aftermath of a natural catastrophe it is critical for local, state and federal officials to coordinate their efforts to get basic services up and running as quickly as possible so that people can get back to their homes and businesses to begin remediation and rebuilding,” he said.
Griffin said that one issue after Superstorm Sandy was the lack of available flood insurance adjusters, which can delay the claims settlement process as well as rebuilding efforts.
“Preparation is a key factor in minimizing financial loss after a natural catastrophe,” Griffin said, adding that “PCI promotes strong building codes and responsible land use policies…Also, consumers need to be educated about the importance of having flood insurance and encouraged to continue purchasing it.”
PCI members include two-thirds of the WYO insurers that partner with FEMA to administer the NFIP. Griffin chairs the WYO Flood Insurance Coalition that includes all the primary insurer trade associations and WYOs.