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Realtors Urge Senate to Develop Comprehensive National Natural Disaster Plan

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RISMEDIA, April 13, 2007-The National Association of Realtors(R), at two congressional hearings this week, called upon the Senate to enact a comprehensive natural disaster plan that addresses insurance availability and affordability in both property and casualty insurance markets; acknowledges the importance and limitations of
the private markets; and recognizes the respective responsibilities of property owners and all levels of government.

The plan should recognize that property owners, private insurance markets and all levels of government must work together to successfully address the problem of available and affordable property insurance, especially in disaster-prone areas, NAR said.

In testimony submitted to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, as well as the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, NAR pledged to work with Congress to craft a national natural disaster plan that would include accessible and affordable insurance, improved preparedness and thorough planning for recovery
efforts. NAR noted the importance of insurance to finance real estate purchases.

"NAR is a leading advocate for homeownership and has been an active proponent for the creation of comprehensive federal natural disaster legislation. If insurance is unaffordable or unavailable, there will be a serious threat to residential real estate, affecting consumers' ability to purchase single family homes, condos and co-operatives, as well as opportunities to invest in rental property and commercial real estate," said NAR President Pat Vredevoogd Combs, of Grand Rapids, Michigan and vice president of Coldwell Banker-AJS Schmidt.

NAR noted that a strong real estate market is the linchpin of a healthy economy, generating jobs, wages, tax revenue and a demand for goods and services. To maintain a strong economy, the vitality of residential and commercial real estate must be safeguarded.

NAR presented a statement of principles in support of the creation of a federal policy that addresses catastrophic natural disasters. Those principles must be included in a comprehensive approach to natural disaster preparedness that encourages personal responsibility, promotes mitigation measures, ensures insurance availability and strengthens critical infrastructure, NAR said.

Last month, NAR both testified and submitted statements for the record at two House hearings on natural disaster insurance. In addition, this past September the trade group hosted a Federal Natural Disaster Policy Symposium, where attendees from across the country reiterated that natural disasters are a national problem and that state resources are not sufficient to deal with such "mega-catastrophes."

For more information, visit http://www.realtor.org.

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