Our Positions | Building Codes

Research has shown that uniform statewide adoption and enforcement of model building codes helps eliminate long-term risks affecting people, property, the environment, and ultimately the economy. Through the cutting-edge scientific research of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, it has been shown that small tweaks to building codes, such as using roof straps or ring-shank nails, can be the difference between a home standing or completely destroyed in the wake of a weather catastrophe.

But the increasing reliance on the federal government to cover post-disaster losses has created a moral hazard of states not ensuring homes and businesses are built resiliently, leaving millions of Americans vulnerable to the next disaster. Because they have every reason to assume that almost all of their post-disaster costs will be covered by the federal government, only a dozen or so states have currently adopted and are enforcing construction standards in line with one of the last three iterations of model building codes. Further, most states do not have the adequate amount of resources to operate a comprehensive inspection regime. This means that the majority of the nation is stuck in an endless cycle of destruction, where homes and businesses are rebuilt after a disaster to the same subpar standards that led to their destruction.

The growing role of the federal government in financing post-disaster costs is also creating the dangerous, but ever-pervasive, false assumption that Federal Emergency Management Agency has a never-ending supply of cash to cover the cost of post-disaster recovery. This is discouraging individuals from adequately protecting themselves from loss or liability that could be suffered during a catastrophe. Ultimately, a larger pool of uninsured victims will be created, dangerously exposing them to financial loss after the next disaster.

In 2011, NAMIC created the BuildStrong Coalition to bring together a group of firefighters, emergency responders, insurers, engineers, architects, contractors, manufacturers, consumer organizations, and code specialists to advocate for policy designed to encourage stronger construction.

NAMIC Position

NAMIC supports state and federal legislation that encourages the adoption and enforcement of strong building codes. Stronger, safer homes and buildings for Americans can save lives and reduce loss, thereby reducing the need for public disaster aid. NAMIC and the BuildStrong Coalition support the creation of a separate, federal financial incentive for states that adopt and enforce statewide building codes. Legislation promising greater post-event aid for those states with strong building codes can serve as a powerful incentive to state governments.

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

California: Mandatory Building Code Upgrades Insurance Coverage Bill Introduced – FEEDBACK REQUESTED

March 3, 2020 Assemblymember Richard Bloom has introduced AB 2436, Residential Property Insurance. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Insurance Committee for a public hearing on March 21... Read more

President’s Budget Addresses Disaster Resilience, Stronger Building Codes

February 18, 2020 The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2021 budget includes a number of policies that would better protect the nation’s homes and communities from a rising number of severe disasters. Among the spending provisions outlined by the administration... Read more

NAMIC Applauds Focus on Disaster Resilience, Strong Building Codes in President’s Budget

February 18, 2020 The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies today applauded the inclusion of mitigation-focused policies in the Trump administration’s FY 2021 budget proposal to better protect the nation’s homes and communities from natural disasters. Read more

NAMIC Urges Action to Implement Disaster Reforms, Modernize Building Standards

December 11, 2019 The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies urged federal disaster recovery officials to speed their efforts to provide funding and other tools to help communities prepare and protect themselves from natural disasters. Read more


Andrew Huff
Federal Affairs Director