A bill the Senate approved 30-18 today would give the state insurance commissioner authority to set up flood insurance for businesses in the Green River valley.
Sen. Tracey Eide said businesses in the area face “potential ruin” from future floods, threatening a regional warehousing area and imperiling the whole economy of the state.
Businesses can’t get excess flood insurance, keeping them from leasing and buying buildings, said Sen. Karen Keiser, sponsor of the bill. “They are tempted to move out – out of the valley, out of the state.”
The insurance pool would be funded by premiums from policyholders along with assessments on the state’s insurance companies. A business could buy a policy covering up to $5 million in property for a total liability in the pool of $250 million.
Republicans said insurance companies would pass the costs on to their policyholders, making the whole state pay for the businesses in south King County.
“You may now see your premiums go up so we can protect the interest of businesses that didn’t bother to buy flood insurance in a flood plain,” GOP Deputy Leader Cheryl Pflug said.