Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, I am grateful to you for allowing me to appear before you today. I am honored by the President's nomination for service at the Federal Emergency Management Agency as Federal Insurance Administrator, and by the confidence expressed in me by FEMA Director James Lee Witt. Director Witt is recognized as one of the outstanding leaders in government today. If confirmed, I would be proud to join his FEMA team. Also, this confirmation process has allowed me the opportunity to meet with each Senator or with a key staff person, which has been a very positive experience. Through those meetings, I am keenly aware of your knowledge of the National Flood Insurance Program and your interest in its continued success.
I would like to acknowledge with gratitude Texas Senators Gramm and Hutchison and thank both Senate offices for their courtesies and helpfulness to me. I would like to introduce to the Committee my husband, Ed Howard. Our four children, while not here today, are a large reason that public service is important to me. Eric, Jay, Lee and Katie Howard have taught me that this country will be in good hands with their generation. The opportunity to assist in a meaningful way a program whose goals are to promote preparedness and self-reliance while encouraging wise floodplain development is one I welcome. I am grateful that my family supports me in meeting this challenge.
If confirmed, I look forward to working with the excellent staff at the Federal Insurance Administration to ensure continued growth and strengthening of the National Flood Insurance Program. The Federal Insurance Administration professionals have worked diligently and effectively to promote the well-being of this important vehicle for assisting citizens in confronting the catastrophe of flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program helps communities and citizens avoid being disaster victims through pro-active hazard planning. Through insurance, property owners pre-fand their own disaster recovery from flooding and these insurance funds are more complete and offer more genuine help than post-disaster loans or modest grants.
As a former chief state insurance regulator in Texas, and as a receiver of insolvent property and casualty insurers under contract with the State of Texas, I appreciate the impact of catastrophic losses on homeowners and businesses. The federal flood program, which is approaching its 30th anniversary, is a core part of the emergency management program at FEMA.
Currently, there are some 3,800,000 flood policies written with over $400 billion of insurance
coverage in force. If confirmed, I will immerse myself in the day to day issues dealing with
With the guidance of Congress and the combined efforts of the public and private sectors working with federal, state and local government, we will continue to fulfil the goals of helping citizens plan for events outside our control. We are all stronger in this country when we join hands. We can do that.
A glance at our country's map shows us that the valley of just one of our rivers, the Mississippi, includes 40% of the continental United States, and part or all of 31 states. Taken in conjunction with our coastline exposures, the prospect of flooding is one with which we must live. However, our challenge is to lessen the effects of flooding with activities undertaken well in advance of the peril.
I believe in good customer service by government. As a small business owner and a former state agency head, I know that the success of our efforts is largely measured by how we treat people. If confirmed as Federal Insurance Administrator, I pledge to demonstrate good business management, professional and ethical behavior, sensitivity to the plights of those who suffer losses, and responsiveness to each of you and your offices in dealing with problems and questions regarding federal flood insurance.
I want to thank President Clinton and James Lee Witt for my nomination.
I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Home | Menu | Links | Info | Chairman's Page