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Politics

Tom Rooney Lands Bipartisan Support for National Homeowner Catastrophe Act

February 7, 2013 - 6:00pm

With areas still rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy, and before the blizzard named Nemo arose, U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Punta Gorda, picked up some bipartisan support from the Northeast for his continued efforts to pool resources and spread the risk of paying for future disasters.

U.S. Reps. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., and Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., along with Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, have joined Rooney in sponsoring the Homeowner Catastrophe Protection Act of 2013, a bill which provides tax incentives for homeowners and insurance companies to brace against future disasters.

Families in Florida and across the country need peace of mind that when a hurricane or another natural disaster strikes, theyll be prepared, Rooney stated in a release.

National catastrophe funds of any kind have always been a hard sell in Congress, pitting the cost of rebuilding expensive waterfront property against inland property owners.

The hope from Rooneys office remains that more representatives from areas hit by Sandy and other disasters will look at this bill as a bipartisan opportunity to help families protect their homes and save for any potential catastrophes.

Federal aid to Sandy victims has finally been signed into law, but our work is not finished, Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, stated in a release.

This legislation will ensure that insurance companies have the resources they need to assist victims of federally declared disasters, while providing homeowners with incentives to safeguard their homes from future catastrophes.

The bill pulls together three efforts Rooney had introduced in the prior Congress which expired at the start of the new year:

-- The Policyholder Disaster Protection Act would create a tax-deferred reserve that insurance companies can set up to cover the losses from future natural disasters. Currently, insurance companies can only reserve against losses that have already occurred.

-- The Catastrophe Savings Accounts Act would create tax-exempt catastrophe savings accounts (CSAs) to pay expenses resulting from a presidentially declared major disaster.

-- The Natural Disaster Mitigation Act would provide a tax credit (equal to 25 percent of mitigation expenditures up to $5,000) to qualified homeowners who mitigate their homes to prevent or reduce the risks that can result from hurricanes and earthquakes.

The Homeowner Catastrophe Protection Act combines three proactive initiatives into one comprehensive bill:


Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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