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.

BuildStrong Coalition Forum on DRRA, Wildfire Mitigation Open for Registration

October 28, 2019 The NAMIC-led BuildStrong Coalition will host a forum in Sacramento, Calif., Nov. 13 in partnership with the California Chamber of Commerce. The event will focus on how to most effectively mitigate hazards relating to wildfires and the... Read more

House T&I Talks Pre-Disaster Mitigation and DRRA Implementation

October 28, 2019 The House Transportation & Infrastructure’s subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management convened for a hearing Oct. 22 titled "An Assessment... Read more

House Climate Crisis Committee Hearing on Resiliency

October 21, 2019 The House Select Climate Crisis Committee held a hearing Oct. 17 titled “Solving the Climate Crisis: Cleaner, Stronger Buildings” and featuring testimony from five witnesses, including one insurance industry representative... Read more

House Science, Space, Technology Hearing on Changing Climate

September 30, 2019 The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a hearing Sept. 26 titled “Understanding, Forecasting, and Communicating Extreme Weather in a Changing Climate” which featured five... Read more

FEMA Acting Head Expected to Take Over as Administrator

September 30, 2019 President Trump on Sept. 26 formally nominated Pete Gaynor, acting administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to fill the role of administrator. Gaynor has served as the agency’s acting administrator since March following the... Read more


Andrew Huff
Federal Affairs Director