- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Your editorial (“Cheaper insurance for celebrities,” Comment & Analysis, Thursday) was wrong in contending that the purpose of the Homeowners Defense Act is to protect the beachfront homes of celebrities.

In fact, the law would protect the 57 percent of American families living in areas prone to massive hurricanes, staggering earthquakes and other natural disasters. It also would help the nearly 60 percent of homeowners who live in harm’s way, and it would do so without the massive taxpayer subsidies that have followed every major natural catastrophe. The taxpayer bailouts inherent in the current system force all Americans, regardless of where they live, to cover the losses in high-risk areas. Those bailouts must end; the Homeowners’ Defense Act would substantially curtail them.

The legislation is not designed to cover the losses from smaller hurricanes that produce limited damage along the coast. The privately funded coverage offered by state catastrophe funds and backed by a national backstop would only be called upon for the most massive of catastrophes - the kinds that destroy entire cities.

You were wrong to criticize the bill for creating a backstop, funded by insurer dollars, that would stand behind the private market and provide stability and liquidity to it. The Homeowners’ Defense Act would provide sensible incentives to encourage enforcement of stronger building codes and sound land use so people who live and work in harm’s way are better prepared.

America is vulnerable to massive catastrophes like never before. Unless we are prepared and protected when that next one strikes, lives could be lost, communities destroyed, and our economy could go into a tailspin. The Homeowners’ Defense Act is a sensible private-public partnership that would serve all American families. Calling it a celebrity bailout is a misinformed characterization.

JAMES LEE WITT

JAMES M. LOY

Co-chairs, ProtectingAmerica.org

Washington

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