Federal disaster policy took a historic step toward proactive loss prevention with the passage of reforms long championed by the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.
The provisions included in the FAA reauthorization passed today by the Senate and expected to be signed into law by President Trump, were originally introduced as the Disaster Recovery Reform Act and would provide additional funding equal to a percentage of disaster relief funding to the federal pre-disaster mitigation fund. Repeated studies have shown that a single dollar of investment in mitigation can return as much as $8 in loss prevention, and this new appropriation could mean billions of dollars for communities accessing the pre-disaster mitigation fund that as recently as 2015 received only $30 million
In the very near future, America’s communities will have access to more funding to strengthen their defenses against natural disasters, said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of government affairs for NAMIC. “Through new funding for mitigation projects and building code enforcement, these policies represent an unprecedented shift in our federal disaster policy toward one that is centered on proactively preparing our communities before the next storm,” he added.
“Mitigation truly is a win-win policy for all Americans,” Grande said. “By arming our nation’s communities with new tools to protect themselves against the risk of floodwaters or to strengthen homes against extreme winds, wildfires, or any of the natural disasters that are occurring more frequently in recent years, we will significantly reduce the need for disaster aid. And, more importantly, fewer Americans will be left to put their lives back together in the wake of a natural disaster.”
A key to the new policies, Grande said, is that they allow for federal mitigation funds to be used for building code enforcement at the state and local levels.
“Ensuring construction meets modern building codes can be the most efficient and effective way to prevent future losses, but only if those codes are properly enforced, “Grande said. “With funding assistance for enforcement, more communities will be prepared for the next disaster and more Americans will be safer when it strikes.”