Heartland Institute Experts React to Sen. Bill Nelson’s ‘Homeowners’ Defense Act’ Plans

Published June 4, 2013

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) has promised to soon introduce a bill he calls the “Homeowners’ Defense Act,” which would create a national catastrophe fund that would spread the risk and cost of major disasters among all the states. Nelson has introduced similar bills for several years running, but the legislation has not gained much traction.

The following statements from insurance policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.

“The Homeowners Defense Act, which rears its ugly head once again in Congress, is a bad idea that just refuses to go away. Government-backed reinsurance funds have not worked well at the state level; throwing more money at these programs through a federal backstop is the wrong approach to stabilizing coastal insurance markets.

“Under the proposed act, the brunt of the financial burden posed by a major storm would be borne by safer homeowners living in inland areas, transferring risk through the fund backed up by taxpayer dollars. The proposed federal backstop could cost taxpayers billions of dollars and do significant damage to the environment, all in support of a system that is unlikely to cover the losses incurred after a major storm.”

Matthew Glans
Senior Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“It takes some doing to introduce a bill that is at once anti-environment, anti-taxpayer, and anti-free markets, but Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida says he’ll do it.

“He say’s he’ll reintroduce a bill to force Americans everywhere to pay for the bad decisions of lawmakers in his and a handful of other states. The bill would have the U.S. Treasury backstop the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and other state-run reinsurers. These state-run reinsurers undercut private insurance markets and put taxpayers on the hook for losses. And by undercutting private markets, they make insurance in high-risk areas cheaper than it should be, thus encouraging construction in environmentally sensitive coastal and wilderness areas, which not only harms them but adds to natural catastrophe damages by encouraging development where it is most likely to sustain damage.”

Steve Stanek
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor
Budget & Tax News
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 29-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.