Bolinas Community Public Utility District

Resolution No. 444

Opposing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Proposed Insurance Legislation And Recommending Exploration Of Alternatives

WHEREAS, FEMA is proposing legislation that will substantially change the Federal disaster program by requiring all public agencies to have a certain threshold of commercial insurance in place before asking for future Federal disaster assistance; and

WHEREAS, FEMA appears to be implementing these changes in order to shift a greater portion of disaster recovery cost from the Federal government to the local level, and without due regard to the financial impact at the local level; and

WHEREAS, the proposed FEMA insurance requirement is unfair to earthquake prone states because of the high cost of insurance, uncertainties as to whether the commercial earthquake insurance market has sufficient capacity, now and in the future, to absorb the risk of all public facilities in California, and whether these commercial carriers will be able to sustain losses and pay all claims for public buildings in California in the event of a catastrophic earthquake; and

WHEREAS, public safety may be compromised following a disaster because 911 Dispatch centers, firehouses, police stations, hospitals and other public safety buildings may not receive critical repair funding until AFTER private insurance claims are settled or litigated; and

WHEREAS, FEMA maintains that it is fulfilling Congressional mandate to "encourage" the utilization of private insurance, but appears to have ignored the primary purpose of Federal disaster assistance as stated in the Stafford Act, to wit that "It is the intent of the Congress . . . to provide an orderly and continuing means of assistance by the Federal Government to State and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to alleviate the suffering and damage which result from such disasters . . ."; and

WHEREAS, the proposed rule is punitive and relies too heavily on insurance as the only method to protect public buildings. FEMA has ignored the possibility of providing a true incentive to state and local agencies that insure, or take other important steps to protect public buildings (hazard mitigation, seismic retrofit, establishment and enforcement of strict building codes, "Project Impact" programs, etc.);

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of Bolinas Community Public Utility District publicly appeal to FEMA Director James Lee Witt, to abandon this method of reducing Federal disaster expenditures by imposing an unrealistic "one size fits all" insurance requirement, and immediately work with public entities in California to explore alternatives and incentives to reward public entities that are taking a wide variety of cost effective and prudent measures to reduce the impact and cost of future disasters.

PASSED AND ADOPTED at a regular meeting of the Board of Directors of Bolinas Community Public Utility District held on this 19th day of April, 2000, by the following vote:

AYES: Amoroso, Bertsch, Kayfetz, McClellan, Siedman

NOES: None