America's Leading Catastrophe Experts Applaud Klein and Mahoney

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- co- chairs James Lee Witt , former FEMA director, and Admiral James M. Loy , former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, today praised the introduction of comprehensive catastrophe preparedness legislation sponsored by Reps. Ron Klein and Tim Mahoney and applauded the commitment of House leaders to move quickly on the bill.

"Today is an enormously important day for every one of the nearly 6-in-10 American families that live in areas that are at risk for massive natural catastrophes like hurricanes and earthquakes," Mr. Witt said.

"The laser-like focus that Representatives Klein and Mahoney have put on this issue and the priority status that Chairman Barney Frank has given to solving this problem are clear signals that American families may soon get the protection that they need from the devastation of massive natural catastrophes," Admiral Loy said.

" has been advocating for a solution to this issue since before Hurricane Katrina. We are hopeful that today's announcement means that a comprehensive plan to prepare and protect American families will be enacted before the next catastrophe strikes," Witt said.

"The Klein-Mahoney bill appears to meet many of the necessary elements for a successful catastrophe response program. It addresses the need for mitigation and other preventive programs before catastrophe strikes and provides an essential financial backstop to the states that participate in the program so that our families can repair, rebuild and recover following a natural catastrophe," Loy said.

"This bill has the potential to save homeowners billion of dollars on their annual homeowners insurance premiums and will provide taxpayers throughout the country with a substantial savings by minimizing the current taxpayer subsidies demanded by our current catastrophe response program," he added.

"We look forward to working closely with the Congress in the coming months to craft a final bill that better prepares and protects all Americans from the threat of natural catastrophe," he said.

About is a non-profit organization that is co-chaired by James Lee Witt , the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Admiral James M. Loy , former deputy secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security and former commandant of the US Coast Guard. The organization's membership includes the American Red Cross and other first responders, emergency management officials, disaster relief experts, insurers and others. Its members include more than 275 other organizations and businesses.

At the core of's mission is the establishment of a comprehensive, integrated national catastrophe management solution that will better prepare and protect American families, communities, consumers and the American economy from catastrophe. is working to increase public awareness and enhance consumer education; advocate for better coordination with local, state and federal mitigation and recovery efforts, and strengthen emergency response and financial mechanisms to rebuild after a major catastrophe.

The organization supports comprehensive federal legislation that would establish a privately financed national catastrophe fund that would serve as a backstop to state catastrophe funds. The funds' private deposits and the majority of its earnings could only be used to cover replacement and rebuilding costs following major catastrophic events. A portion of the funds' earnings would be dedicated to increase public and consumer education, strengthen first responders, and enhance building codes and their enforcement. was formed in 2005.