INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 8, 2005)— The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) reports that last week Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., held a hearing to discuss possible legislative action to prevent future losses like those that occurred following hurricane Katrina.
One topic that came up repeatedly during the hearing was the need for those states that are vulnerable to natural disasters to pass strong statewide building codes. During the hearing several Committee Members including Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Chip Pickering, R-Miss., all testified on the importance of enacting stronger building codes.
In addition to testifying on the need for stronger building codes, Representative Schmidt has introduced H. Res 285, which expresses the sense of Congress that the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama should adopt comprehensive, modern, and uniform statewide building codes. Justin Roth, Senior Director-Federal Affairs for NAMIC stated that “if those three states already had strong statewide building codes in place, much of the devastation in those areas could have been prevented”. In fact, The Louisiana State University Hurricane Center has estimated that of the $10 billion in damage to homes in Louisiana modern building codes would have spared 80 percent of the damage.
Congressman Connie Mack, R-Fla., who submitted testimony for the hearing was able to point out his first hand experience with strong building codes. Mack stated that “Several years ago, Florida adopted a statewide residential building code. Make no mistake: having a rigorous building code in place in Florida contributed considerably toward mitigating damage and saving lives. Homes built to code were able to sustain the damages more readily than those not built to code”.
The enactment of stronger statewide building codes has been a NAMIC priority for years. Earlier this year prior to hurricane season NAMIC helped create the “Building Code Coalition”, whose sole purpose is to encourage Congress to pass legislation that would create an incentive for states to adopt a statewide building codes. NAMIC believes that stronger building codes would go a long way in tackling this issue, Roth stated “The enactment of strong statewide building codes would not only save homeowners the cost and aggravation of rebuilding their homes, but it would also save taxpayers millions of dollars in rebuilding costs. We look forward to working with Chairman Shuster and other members of the Committee to try to come up with legislation that addresses this issue”
For further information, contact
Rick Nelson, APR
(317) 875-5250 Tel
(317) 879-8408 Fax
Posted: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 12:00:00 AM. Modified: Tuesday, November 08, 2005 1:19:59 PM.
317.875.5250 - Indianapolis | 202.628.1558 - Washington, D.C.