FEMA — The Nation Needs Better Building Codes


The annual hurricane season has officially arrived. It kicks off the first of June every year and lasts until November 30th. This year a record number of hurricanes are expected.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — who runs the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) — knows that means devastation for homeowners along the nation’s Gulf Coast and East Coast. At the same time, it’s wildfire season almost year around in the West and Southwest and other parts of the country.

FEMA is also aware of that and the potential disasters from all that water, all that fire and the spawning of a record number of tornadoes after a hurricane hits, and at other times. That awareness has led the agency to push for a revision of building codes around the country.

That was a topic of discussion last week when FEMA administrator, Deanne Criswell and President Biden’s deputy national climate advisor, Ali Zaidi did a briefing on hurricanes.

They said two of every three communities in the U.S. have antiquated building codes.

As such, the homes and businesses built in them are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and the now higher energy costs we are all currently experiencing. That’s why the two officials support FEMA’s new National Initiative to Advance Building Codes.

Criswell said it is designed to help cities and towns easily update their building codes and will “save lives, reduce property damage, and lower utility bills.”

She said the plan will apply only to new construction and to homes and buildings built, or rebuilt, due to damage. The adoption of hazard resistant building codes saves communities $11 per every $1 invested,” Criswell said.

The White House is totally behind the proposed changes. In a news release just before the hurricane briefing, it said With extreme weather events threatening millions of homes each year, and taking a greater toll on underserved communities, every dollar invested in building code adoption provides eleven times more in savings by reducing damage and helping communities recover more quickly.”

The White House says new energy codes could save households $162 a year.

On the insurance association side of things, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association’s (APCIA) Nat Wienecke likes the proposed updates. He noted that P&C insurers are frontline responders when natural disasters strike.

“For decades APCIA members have advocated for policies and increased investments that help prevent and reduce such devastation,” Wienecke said. “This includes establishing and funding loss mitigation-focused organizations like the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.”

Wienecke added the new codes will help communities be more resilient with the severe weather being brought upon us by global warming.

APCIA commends the Biden-Harris Administration for taking action to enhance climate resilience for communities by supporting the adoption of modern, hazard-resistant building codes and standards,” Wienecke said. “This action is critical to increasing their capacity to withstand, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.”

Source link: Insurance Journal — https://bit.ly/3mr3k85


Source link: Insurance Business America — https://bit.ly/3PZpsE9

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


More Industry News