Panel Addresses Availability and Affordability of Coastal Homeowners
AUSTIN, Texas, May 10, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --The
Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers
Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV),
today hosted a panel discussion at the Regulatory Roundup, an annual
conference of insurance industry professionals and regulators held in
Austin, Texas. The conference focused on topics of importance to the
insurance industry, such as federal regulation and emerging legislative
and regulatory trends. The Travelers Institute panel, "Improving
Availability and Affordability of Coastal Wind Storm Insurance,"
presented strategies and solutions to protect and insure the Gulf and
"The Travelers Institute is committed to participating in public
dialogue with policymakers to contribute to solutions on matters of
importance to our customers, our agents and brokers, and the communities
we serve," said Joan Woodward, Travelers Executive Vice President of
Public Policy and head of The Travelers Institute. "The availability and
affordability of wind storm insurance is a challenge for many coastal
residents, and it is time for the public and private sectors to work
together to create effective, sustainable solutions to this crisis."
Moderated by Ms. Woodward, The Travelers Institute panel included:
Eleanor Kitzman, Former Director of Insurance, South Carolina;
Debra Ballen, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Public
Policy, Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS);
Eric Nelson, Vice President, Personal Lines and Risk Management,
Participants addressed the need for maintenance of a strong private
insurance market, greater focus on loss mitigation and risk management,
improved land use planning and stronger and enforced building codes.
Ms. Kitzman shared the challenges faced by South Carolina and those she
faced as a state regulator working to secure access to affordable
coastal property insurance for the state's residents. She provided
insight into why other solutions were rejected in favor of a
market-based approach. "Market-based regulatory reforms are crucial to
creating a stable and predictable insurance market that will allow the
average homeowner to be adequately insured at an affordable price," said
Ms. Ballen addressed efforts by IBHS to enhance building codes and
strengthen their enforcement across the country. She also discussed the
organization's multi-peril research center in Chester County, S.C.,
which is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2010. The facility
will be able to simulate Category 3 hurricane winds to test the strength
of residential structures. The research done in this test facility
should help the public, federal, state and local policymakers, insurers,
builders and building product manufacturers better understand the impact
of hurricane force winds. "When homes are built or retrofitted to make
them more durable, we are protecting property, saving lives and helping
to reduce costs to consumers and insurers," said Ballen.
Mr. Nelson presented the Travelers
Coastal Wind Zone Plan, a comprehensive, private market approach to
improve the affordability and availability of coastal wind storm
insurance for homeowners. The Travelers proposal includes four key
A stable and consistent regulatory environment, with a uniform set of
rules applied to named wind storm coverage for coastal zones from
Texas to Maine;
Transparency in calculating insurance premiums;
Federal reinsurance mechanism for extreme events; and
Stronger buildings through federal guidelines for appropriate building
codes and land use planning.
"Travelers understands that a viable insurance market is a critical
component of the economic stability of communities along the Gulf and
Atlantic coasts," said Nelson. "We believe that if taken together the
principles of Travelers Coastal Wind Zone Plan can contribute to a
sustainable, private insurance market for coastal communities."
To learn more about The Travelers Institute or the Travelers Coastal
Wind Zone Plan, visit www.travelersinstitute.com.
About The Travelers Institute
The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers
Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV),
engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance
to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry. The
Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers'
senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers'
underwriters, risk managers and other experts to provide information and
analysis to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading
provider of property casualty insurance for auto,
For more information, visit www.travelers.com.
SOURCE: The Travelers Institute
The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Jennifer Wislocki, 860-277-7458
Erin Haberman, 860-277-3617