Washington, DC -- FEMA is seeking comments about proposed changes that could reduce the taxpayer's burden for disaster recovery by requiring insurance for public buildings. The advanced notice is published in the February 23 issue of the Federal Register. There is a 45-day comment period.
"This Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the first step in the formal regulatory process," said FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "We hope that this notice will stimulate discussion on the insurance proposal. This is one of the most important initiatives that FEMA has undertaken and could change the way we do business in the future."
Following a federal disaster declaration, state and local communities are eligible for federal disaster assistance to rebuild or repair public buildings, such as schools, government offices and other structures. Generally, the state or local community pays 25 percent of the cost to repair or rebuild and the federal government pays 75 percent.
At issue is whether or not state and local government would need to carry a certain level of insurance on their buildings in order to receive funding to repair those structures in the event of a declared disaster.
The advance notice is specifically seeking feedback from potentially affected communities and other stakeholders. Of particular interest is feedback about what insurance maximums, minimums and deductibles are appropriate, as well as appropriate criteria for communities that wish to self-insure their properties. If approved, the rule would be phased in over 36 months.
Written comments should be sent to Rules Docket Clerk, Office of the General Counsel, FEMA, 500 C Street, SW, Room 840, Washington, D.C. 20472. Comments can also be faxed to 202 646-4536 or E-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.