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Insurers call on government to open flood market to private carriers

Real estate owners in New York and around the country may be in line for much-needed relief in obtaining lender required flood insurance, according to Anthony Kammas, partner at New York-based Skyline Risk Management, a major construction insurance agency.

Kammas, Secretary-Elect of the Professional Insurance Association (PIA) New York Chapter, recently spent two days on Capitol Hill meeting with U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and other key legislators to urge elected officials to support the House of Representative Bill (HR2901) and Senate Bill (#1679) which would open the flood market to private carriers.

“The federal government currently provides flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and private carriers now want to enter this market,” said Kammas, who is currently a board member of the PIA of New York and chair of the PIA’s governmental affairs committee.

“The goal is to provide private flood market insurance and competition so the government is the carrier of last resort. That will help with the pricing of such coverage.”

According to Kammas, the government flood program is reauthorized annually, but the PIA wants to get it authorized for 10 years so that there is a sense of stability within the marketplace.

The House vote is set for this week and the U.S. Senate Banking Committee is set to debate the bill for consideration this summer.
“Senator Schumer is very supportive of flood insurance and we are waiting to see what he and U.S. Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey are going to do,” added Kammas, who said the US government lost nearly $24 billion because it set flood insurance premiums too low and did not collect enough premium to cover claims.

“Now with new actuarial rates, private carriers see some money can be made,” added Kammas, who explained that even if the bill passes, the NFIP will still be able to offer flood insurance, but they will no longer be the primary provider of flood insurance.
Kammas is a partner at Skyline Risk Management, a New York-based insurance company that specializes in construction and real estate insurance.

During 2015, New York City new construction costs for residential projects grew to an all-time high of $18 billion, almost double from the $10 billion in 2014 of which Skyline procured insurance for almost $1billion of that total cost in 2015.

On his trip to D.C., Kammas joined with hundreds of his fellow agents from across the country as part of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents’ 2016 Federal Legislative Summit.

“PIA is an aggressive, activist organization that is never afraid to speak up and speak out on behalf of our members and clients,” added Kammas.

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