Americans for Smart Catastrophe Policy Launches SmarterSafer.org

(Washington, DC) – Americans for Smart Natural Catastrophe Policy today announced it has expanded the coalition and has renamed itself, “SmarterSafer.org.”  It has launched a new website that focuses on strengthening mitigation policies as an answer to advocates proposing a national catastrophe bailout fund.

SmarterSafer.org is a fast-growing national coalition made up of a diverse set of voices united to support environmentally-responsible, fiscally-sound approaches that promote public safety.   It strongly opposes legislative proposals that encourage people to build homes in hurricane-prone, environmentally-sensitive areas, such as by creating new programs that directly or indirectly subsidize homeowner’s insurance.  The Coalition supports smarter, more effective policies to help people in need, promote disaster safety and preparedness, and foster sounder environmental stewardship of our fragile coastal ecosytems.

Our broad-based coalition of conservation, taxpayer, consumer, natural resource professional and business organizations is helping focus the nation on continuing concerns associated with locating homes and businesses in high-risk, natural disaster-prone locations and the critical need for active adaptation programs to mitigate and reduce the risks and costs of natural disasters through a wide range of mitigation efforts at all levels of government and the private sector. With growing threats from climate change and rising sea levels, growing populations and the need to protect and restore natural areas that also serve to buffer the effects of major storms, the National Wildlife Federation is proud to be part of this diverse coalition seeking a smarter and safer future for all Americans,” saidDavid R. Conrad, Senior Water Resources Specialist for the National Wildlife Federation, [the nation's largest conservation education and advocacy organization].

“PIA members help their clients find insurance coverage for their homes and businesses. Our agents, especially in coastal states prone to natural catastrophes, need to provide solutions. What is needed is an approach that is comprehensive, long-term and just makes sense. One-off responses won’t work. For example, adding wind coverage to flood insurance policies will not address the problems of availability and affordability, nor will “backstops” or guarantees of irresponsible or unnecessary current programs. PIA is supportive of SmartSafer.org because it seeks to address the real problems caused by natural catastrophes through encouraging common-sense solutions.  - Brian Marino, National Vice President/Treasurer, National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

“Barrier islands and coastal wetlands provide the first line of defense against hurricanes.  With climate scientists predicting more powerful hurricanes, creating a federal incentive for coastal development would both put these ecosystems at greater risk and also encourage more people to be in harm’s way. A smarter, safer federal policy that would make existing homes more resilient and better able to withstand higher winds and floodwaters is the better approach,”  - Ed Hopkins, Director of Environmental Quality, The Sierra Club.

“Risk-based insurance rates, mitigation, and sensible, market-based environmental protections are a matter of common sense. Smartersafer.org promotes these things and CEI is proud to take part in the group.  The breadth of the coalition shows that the things the group supports are not a matter of “free-market” or “environmental” policy much less “liberal” or conservative ideology. They are simply a matter of common sense.”  – Eli Lehrer, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute.

“American Rivers is the leading voice for rivers and river communities throughout the country.  And that’s why we are so supportive of the coalition’s efforts to protect communities from the damage of storms and flooding.  The greatest benefit of mitigation is that fosters protection of the environment while protecting human lives.  What we need to do is to nurture and restore the resiliency of our rivers and coastal environments, which provide great benefits for recreation and wildlife as well as enhancing public safety.    We oppose a natural catastrophe backstop because it incentives building in ecologically sensitive areas.  Instead the federal government really ought to be investing its time and energy in creating a new way of approaching storms and protecting on our communities by really relying on the natural environment as a first line of defense against these catastrophes.”  – Andrew Fahlund, Vice President, Conservation for American Rivers

“We’re talking about trying to make people less vulnerable to natural disasters and make the taxpayer less vulnerable to increased costs.  Mitigation really represents an investment where we’re actually reducing future losses, which means less impact on people and also less impact on the taxpayers having to bail them out if disaster strikes.  The idea of a backstop is seductive at first because you think that hey we will have Uncle Sam help out businesses, but in reality, what’s going to happen is that Uncle Sam and people across the country will be left holding the bag, rather than the private industry. Working with the coalition, we’re going to be able to advocate for effective policies, legislation that is really going to protect taxpayers, protect people and actually make a better investment in flood insurance and other programs along the coast.” – Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense.