As the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season comes to an end, the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is urging policymakers at all levels of government to continue focusing on disaster policy and mitigation.
“As the new Congress and state legislatures get ready for work in January, now is the time to focus on mitigation and preparing for natural disasters,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of government affairs for NAMIC. “Even as we come to the end of the 2018 hurricane season, the start of the 2019 season is just six months away. We know there will be more hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and all manner of extreme weather, and the experience of recent years indicates they will be even more destructive. Now is not the time to relax and take our eyes off the ball.”
This year saw some major developments in federal disaster policy, Grande said, with groundbreaking legislation signed into law that creates a first-of-its-kind incentive for states and communities to adopt stronger construction standards and mitigation policies. Another policy, part of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act signed into law by President Trump on Oct. 5, will provide new tools to communities all over the nation to proactively prepare for the risk of floods, wildfires, wind, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events.
“The federal government has taken major steps to help protect our communities from natural disasters, and now we need our state and local governments to take action,” Grande said. “The best time to protect Americans and their homes from the effects of natural disasters is before those disasters happen. Mitigation and especially modern building codes are the most effective and cost-efficient investments government can make to prevent losses and save lives.”
Grande said that Congress is facing another deadline for reauthorizing the troubled National Flood Insurance Program, which remains billions of dollars in debt. Reform efforts have stalled on Capitol Hill, he noted, leaving the program subject to a series of short-term extensions to avoid an outright lapse.
“For far too long, Congress has opted to kick the can down the road rather than fix the NFIP,” Grande said. “As members of Congress have once again given themselves more time, NAMIC is urging them to focus on passing commonsense reforms to move the NFIP closer to fiscal stability and ensure it will continue to provide protection for homeowners facing flood risks.”