Our Positions | Disaster Mitigation

Natural catastrophes are increasing in frequency and severity at an alarming rate. Having spent nearly $1 trillion on disaster recovery since 1983, the federal government is the largest payer of post disaster costs and taxpayers in recent years have been picking up an increasing share of the tab.

To illustrate just how much the disaster landscape in the U.S. has changed over the years, in 1955, after Hurricane Diane caused significant damage to the coast of South Carolina, the federal government paid 5 percent of the recovery efforts. By 2005, following Hurricane Katrina that number had risen to 50 percent, and in 2012 taxpayers were left to pay for a massive 77 percent of the recovery efforts following Superstorm Sandy. The dangerous trajectory of our nation’s post-disaster cost curve lends itself to an unsustainable model that ultimately puts Americans at risk.

Multiple studies have shown that every $1 spent on preventative mitigation saves approximately $4 in future losses, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken a reactive posture to disasters. FEMA has spent 14 times more on incorporating mitigation measures after the catastrophe in recent years, instead of proactively preparing communities before the next storm. More troubling, FEMA currently spends 89 times more on post-disaster assistance than pre-disaster mitigation. Victims of catastrophes should always be put back on their feet in the aftermath of a disaster. But the fact that FEMA would invest such a small amount to prepare communities before the next storm while doling out billions in post-disaster assistance only adds furthers the argument for a wholesale change in approach.

NAMIC Position

NAMIC supports a shift in the current federal approach to disasters, advocating for the federal government to invest far more heavily in proactive, economically proven pre-disaster mitigation. To do this, NAMIC has called on Congress to create a National Mitigation Investment Strategy that would reform federal disaster policy while giving states and communities a package of tools and incentives to build structures more resiliently.

With First Named Storm Ahead of Hurricane Season, Insurers Are Ready for Extreme Weather

May 19, 2020 As the first named storm of 2020 makes an appearance nearly two weeks ahead of the official start of hurricane season, it only adds to the anxiety of coastal states already facing challenges in the wake of... Read more

NAMIC Applauds FEMA Guidance Creating New Program to Help Communities Prepare for Disasters

April 13, 2020 The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies today applauded the guidance recently proposed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that takes a significant step forward in helping communities protect themselves from natural disaster and... Read more

FEMA Issues Initial Guidance on Key New Disaster Program Created by NAMIC-Backed Law

April 13, 2020 The Federal Emergency Management Agency on April 10 released the initial draft guidance that creates the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program. The BRIC Program was created through the Disaster Recovery Reform Act in 2018 and is... Read more

FEMA Launches BRIC Website, Expected to Release Initial Guidance Soon

April 6, 2020 In anticipation of the release of the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program Guidance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched its new, dedicated BRIC website. The BRIC program is designed to create a... Read more

FEMA Administrator Discusses Building Codes, Mitigation, Flood Insurance During Hearing

March 16, 2020 During a March 11 hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, Pete Gaynor, the newly confirmed administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency... Read more


Andrew Huff
Senior Director of Federal Affairs