TAMPA, March 4 – The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) today lauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the FEMA Disaster Assistance Act of 2015 (HR 1471), which includes a key provision to conduct a new study about disaster investment in the U.S.
“IBHS is focused on building forward rather than simply putting pieces of brittle buildings back together the same way in the same vulnerable locations over and over again,” said Julie Rochman, IBHS president and CEO. “It’s much more cost-effective to provide pre-disaster mitigation assistance than to repeatedly provide post-disaster assistance after homes, businesses and communities have been devastated.”
Rochman also commended the BuildStrong Coalition for its active support of this important legislation, including the release of its National Mitigation Investment Strategy last fall, which specifically called for a study to improve disaster mitigation and response, similar to HR 1471.
“Pre-disaster mitigation is effective policy on many levels,” explained Rochman. “For example, it is sound public policy to encourage jurisdictions to take actions that will reduce the toll of natural disasters on their citizens before disasters strike. It is effective fiscal policy to invest in pre-disaster mitigation, which results in a four to one (4:1) return on federal investments, according to the seminal Multi-hazard Mitigation Council’s Mitigation Saves report,” Rochman continued.
“In addition, it is thoughtful environmental policy to engage in adaptation measures that prepare communities for potential weather-related consequences so the inevitable mountain of post-storm debris doesn’t end up in landfills. Finally, it is fair financial policy to incentivize proactive pre-disaster planning to avoid unnecessary post-disaster expenditures.
“There are many property loss mitigation activities that can contribute to a stronger, safer nation—and hopefully, reduce or moderate the need for post-disaster federal assistance in the future. In addition, to the extent they increase stakeholder involvement in pre-disaster mitigation, such activities accelerate the ability of both individuals and communities to bounce back and build forward following a disaster,” concluded Rochman.