National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) Opposes House Flood Legislation
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has issued the following statement reiterating its opposition to the House Flood Insurance legislative package passed out of the House Financial Services Committee in June and now consolidated as H.R. 2874, the 21st Century Flood Reform Act. The statement was made by Jon Gentile, vice president of government relations of PIA:
"PIA National opposes this legislation because it cuts the Write Your Own (WYO) reimbursement rate paid to insurance companies that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by 3 percentage points. This cut was negotiated by trade groups and other representatives of insurance carriers without regard for the needs of consumers and agents, or the negative impact it will have on the flood insurance program and on disaster preparedness.
"Let us be clear: as carriers have stated, this reduction to the WYO reimbursement rate will be passed on to independent insurance agents through abrupt cuts to their commissions. Such cuts will force agents who currently sell flood insurance to leave the program, because it will become prohibitively expensive for agents to sell flood insurance, and it will discourage agents from entering the NFIP policy market. This will ultimately hurt consumers, just as cutting the agent out of the Affordable Care Act hurt consumers in their purchase of health insurance.
"In the aftermath of the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, it is unconscionable that policymakers would include a provision making it less likely that homeowners will purchase flood insurance by undermining the NFIP's sales force. It is unfortunate that consumers and agents are the only ones being asked to suffer the financial consequences of these programmatic changes, when they are arguably the groups that can least afford it.
"As we speak, independent agents in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico are working tirelessly on behalf of their clients, while, in many cases, dealing with the cleanup of their own homes and agencies. Any cut to agent commissions will lead many independent agents currently selling NFIP polices to stop and dissuade prospective agents from doing so. This will result in a decrease in the number of properties protected by flood insurance, at a time when increasing the number of flood insurance policies in force should be a top public policy priority.
"Without changes, this legislation in every way fails homeowners and businesses who rely on agents to guide them through the confusing flood insurance program and provide them with critical support in the days and weeks after a flooding event. PIA urges members of Congress to vote no on any cut to the WYO rate that does not include a strong and robust protection for agent compensation."
Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM. PIA's web address is www.pianet.com.
This press release is online at:
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