Last week, the Senate Baking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, in a voice-vote, approved a bill (The Commission on Natural Catastrophe Risk Management and Insurance Act of 2007) that would create a national commission to examine natural disaster risks.  The bi-partisan commission would be composed of 16 members and examine issues  such as the feasibility of establishing a national or regional pooling mechanism to increase capacity in constrained insurance markets; the role of Federal and State insurance programs, both proposed and existing, in the marketplace; the effect that enforcement of stricter building codes and other mitigation methods would have on the market; and the ability of the private market to deal with another major catastrophe season.  The Commission’s report would be due by December 1, 2008.  The bill has been sent to the full Senate for consideration.