There is one summary for H.R.230. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (01/07/1997)


Title I: Natural Disaster Insurance

Title II: Multihazard Mitigation Program

Natural Disaster Protection and Insurance Act of 1997 - Title I: Natural Disaster Insurance - Directs the Secretary of the Treasury (the Secretary) to establish within the Department of the Treasury a National Commission on Catastrophe Risk and Insurance Loss Costs to estimate loss costs from catastrophic natural disasters. Instructs the Commission to: (1) make an initial estimate of catastrophe loss costs (updated at least every three years); (2) file catastrophe loss costs estimates at least every three years; (3) conduct special studies of catastrophe insurance issues in order to develop estimates of catastrophe loss costs, including the investigation of specified issues according to certain procedural guidelines.

(Sec. 101) Permits a private insurer to elect to cite the Commission's final catastrophe loss cost estimates in its rate filings to a State department of insurance.

Instructs the Secretary to consider catastrophe loss cost estimates when developing reserve prices for Federal excess-of-loss reinsurance contracts.

Requires State insurance pools that provide direct insurance, in order to be eligible to purchase Federal excess-of-loss reinsurance contracts, to consider, when developing property coverage rates, such estimates as the minimum loss costs to be filed with State department of insurance.

Prescribes guidelines under which the Commission may review and certify private commercial natural disaster hazard models intended to be used to make estimates of catastrophe loss costs.

Authorizes appropriations.

Expresses the intent of the Congress that: (1) this Act relates specifically to the business of insurance; and (2) specified activities prescribed by this Act and applicable to such business shall be regulated by State law.

(Sec. 102) Directs the Secretary to implement a program to auction Federal excess-of-loss reinsurance contracts to eligible purchasers in order to increase the capacity of insurance coverage against specified catastrophic natural disasters.

Establishes the Federal Excess-of-Loss Reinsurance Fund within the Treasury to make payments on claims and for: (1) the operation of the National Commission on Catastrophe Risk and Insurance Loss Costs; (2) the anticipated Federal contribution to the Natural Disaster Hazard Mitigation Fund (established by this Act); and (3) administrative expenses.

(Sec. 103) Prescribes eligibility qualifications for a licensed private corporation providing excess reinsurance for catastrophic natural disasters, which shall not be subject to antitrust liability.

(Sec. 104) Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a joint study with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Commerce evaluating specified public policy issues associated with conferring favorable Federal tax treatment to insurance reserves set aside by private insurers for future catastrophic natural disasters.

(Sec. 105) Requires the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to study and report to the Congress on the national flood insurance program operated under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.

(Sec. 106) Requires each State department of insurance to take into account natural disaster hazard mitigation measures in setting rates and deductibles for property insurance.

(Sec. 107) Requires the FEMA Director and the Secretaries of Treasury and of Commerce to study jointly, evaluate, and report to the Congress on the availability and affordability of catastrophe insurance for natural hazards to private enterprises and State and local governments.

Title II: Multihazard Mitigation Program - Prescribes guidelines and a deadline for the development of State-wide strategic mitigation plans to reduce the hazards of future natural disasters. Denies non-compliant States eligibility to receive funds from the Natural Disaster Hazard Mitigation Fund.

(Sec. 202) Establishes the Natural Disaster Hazard Mitigation Fund.

(Sec. 203) Directs the Comptroller General to identify all Federal programs providing assistance for public facilities and lifelines, and determine those which include or could include as an eligible use of Federal assistance the retrofitting or strengthening of public facilities and lifelines to minimize damage from future natural disasters.

(Sec. 204) Directs the Secretaries of Agriculture and of the Interior to enter into an agreement with the interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group to study and report to the Congress on the threat posed by wildfires.

(Sec. 205) Authorizes appropriations.