For this blog about Hurricane Season preparedness, we thought it would make sense to get some business continuity tips from a real expert—a business owner who survived multiple disasters.
Three Brothers Bakery, a 69-year-old business owned by Janice and Robert Jucker, suffered losses of around $1 million after Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston last August. In 2008, the destruction caused by Hurricane Ike forced the couple to close the bakery for nine months. They lost $1 million after that storm.
Washington DC, Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following speech on the House floor today during debate on a bill to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) without any reforms to the program:
Mr. Speaker, I come to the floor today to do something I do not often do, and that is I have asked my leadership to put a bill on the floor that I do not support. I’m talking about the bill that would provide for a non-reform re-authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program through the end of November.
I want to make it very clear, Mr. Speaker, I believe this program needs to be re-authorized, and the House has done its work. The House passed a bill with reforms last November.
Never underestimate the Senate’s capacity to do nothing, and unfortunately the Senate has done nothing. But this is a program, Mr. Speaker, that continues to be in dire need of reform.
And now we have re-authorized it without reforms not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not five times – six times since the Financial Services Committee first reported this bill out. Enough is enough.
Mr. Speaker, we lost in America 116 lives last year to flooding. Billions and billions of dollars of property loss, and yet, we have a program unreformed that incents people to live in harm – incents people to live in harm’s way. We should not do this, Mr. Speaker.
I went and I visited those who survived hurricane Harvey. People that were close to your district, people whose homes have flooded three times in the last eight years, and I heard harrowing tales of survival. And yet we have a program that says, “you know what, we will help you rebuild your same home in the same fashion in the same place… hope you survive next time.” That’s wrong. That’s just wrong, Mr. Speaker.
And, yes, we need more mitigation money, we need better flood control projects, and the House bill had more flood mitigation money than any other reform bill.
But this bill before us has no reforms.
This is a program that the taxpayer has subsidized, so far, by $40 billion. Some of the debt has been forgiven, but it runs a billion and a half dollar deficit every single year, Mr. Speaker. It is unsustainable – the Congressional Budget Office says it, the GAO says it, OMB says it – it is an unsustainable program. The finances do not work.
And then last but not least, Mr. Speaker, it is a government monopoly. It’s a government monopoly when people could, through a competitive marketplace, actually get more affordable, flood insurance. And that’s just not a theory, that’s happening as we speak. In the small little bit of the marketplace that is open to competition, people are saving hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in places like Pennsylvania and in places like Florida. We had testimony in our committee, and so it’s just rather disappointing that again we face the seventh time, the seventh time of not reforming a program that has no market competition, that is fiscally unsustainable, and yet we continue to see premiums skyrocket in the government monopoly.
I do want to thank the gentleman from California, Mr. Royce, and the gentleman on the other side of the aisle, Mr. Blumenauer from Oregon. They tried to put together a reform package with the most minimal, minimal level of reforms, and unfortunately it did not appear to carry the day.
So now, I suspect we will soon cast, with an overwhelming vote, a clean re-authorization, but I don’t think they’re going to take it up in the Senate. Maybe I’m wrong, in which case we will have to deal with this. And I would just simply again ask, particularly for the people on my side of the aisle– I think it helps maybe once or twice a month we ask ourselves Ronald Reagan’s eternal question – “If not us, who? If not now, when?” I invite somebody to answer that question for me.
Washington DC, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement today about the seven bills the committee is considering related to the National Flood Insurance Program:
There are so many important voices in our debate today on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. Certainly the homeowners who have relied on this program — theirs is a very important voice because we go to their homes and we go to their household finances. Theirs is a very important voice. Homebuilders, they have an important voice. Insurance agents and companies, local communities — these are all important voices in this debate.
But as far as I’m concerned, perhaps the single-most important voice is the voice that remains underrepresented in the debate and that is the voice of the American taxpayer. The American taxpayer who has been called upon in the past to bail out a program that is currently drowning in $26 billion of red ink and suffers a $1.4 billion annual actuarial deficit.
Maybe that’s why I heard from Kathy in Garland, Texas in my district who wrote: “It’s just another reason the average person in this country is going under financially. Far too many programs are being funded by the average American but very few receive any benefits from what they are funding.”
In talking about the program, Steven of Larue in my district said: “This is just another instance of the federal government wasting the taxpayer dollars over and over and over again on the same problems. People that choose to live in flood-prone areas after receiving one payment benefit should be removed from the entirety of the program.”
Just two taxpayer comments. So again, we know for a fact the program is in debt. We know for a fact the program is running an actual annual deficit. So it begs the question: Should there be a permanent taxpayer subsidy? I say no. It cannot be, not when I’m sitting here looking at a national debt clock that continues to run out of control before us, which I continue to believe is a far under-appreciated clear and present danger to our republic. Part of those numbers spinning out of control represent the National Flood Insurance Program.
I don’t know if America will ever become a bankrupt society, but I know the face of bankruptcy is an ugly one. In Detroit, when it became bankrupt, thousands of street lights couldn’t afford to be replaced and ambulances did not run. Municipal retiree health care benefits were cut immediately. In Puerto Rico, hospitals had to lay off workers, ration medication, reduce services. In Greece, from 2008 to 2013 they became 40 percent poorer. Homelessness increased 25 percent in four years.
I don’t think America would ever become Puerto Rico, Detroit or Greece, but I don’t know, and it’s not something in good conscience I can ignore.
So I believe we need a National Flood Insurance Program that will make the program fiscally sustainable. I do believe that people should gradually – gradually – be expected to pay actuarial rates. They need predictability. We need to protect them from sticker shock, but the program must be made sustainable.
I believe market competition is important and we have heard evidence that in many places where there has been even limited market competition we have actually seen premiums decreased. And the industry is poised to come in. It’s a very different world today than it was half a century ago when this program was launched. Better risk assessment tools, better financing mechanisms to spread the risk globally. And so this is a bill that, perhaps, it would take as long as 15 years to fully phase in some actuarial rates. We’re talking today about bills that, if enacted, would increase premiums about $2 a month to put this on the road toward actuarial soundness where all will be protected, no one will be denied a policy, all will benefit from competition and the NFIP will be sustainable and the national debt clock will spin a little less rapidly.
With other important reforms of mapping, mitigation, claims processing protections and reforms, I commend all of the authors of the legislation that we will be marking up today and I look forward to the markup.
By Alex Napoliello | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
on October 19, 2016 at 2:15 PM, updated October 19, 2016 at 3:58 PM
HIGHLANDS — U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone’s attempt Wednesday to tout legislation for more oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency turned into an opportunity for Hurricane Sandy victims to vent about the agency.
“We need you to make a louder voice,” George Kasimos, one of the founders of the group Stop FEMA now, told Pallone (D-6th Dist.) “You’re a senior congressman with a lot of clout, and you got to stand up.”
Kasimos’ outburst from the rear of the Highlands Community Center came about six minutes into Pallone’s press conference.
Kasimos said there are 20,000 people nationwide who have been treated unfairly by FEMA, and maybe approximately 30,000 more who have lost their homes and are still waiting for a check.
Pallone acknowledged that FEMA and its National Flood Insurance Program have to do a better job. He even raised the possibility of getting rid of FEMA altogether.
“The reason I’m here … is because I believe there have been all sorts of problems and they continue, not because they’ve been solved,” Pallone said.