SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that promote public safety. The coalition believes that the Federal government has a role in encouraging and helping communities and homeowners undertake mitigation efforts to safeguard against natural disasters. At the same time, the coalition opposes measures that put people’s lives at risk at the expense of taxpayers. The coalition is working to ensure that Congress does not incentivize people to live in harm’s way in places prone to natural disasters and advocates for policies that better protect people in harm’s way, the environment and taxpayers.
Consumer and Taxpayer Advocates
SmarterSafer.org Statement of Principles
Properties in coastal areas and other high-hazard areas should be built, replaced or repaired according to the most modern building standards and codes reflecting exposure to natural disasters and effective loss-reduction measures. Based on the continuing scientific assessment of the effects and consequences of a changing climate, property and infrastructure development in coastal and other high-hazard areas have placed people in harm’s way and property at significant risk of loss due to natural catastrophic events.
Government incentives should promote risk-avoidance and proactive mitigation measures to protect the public from a broad range of natural disasters, including wind, flood, wildfires and earthquakes.
To protect both the public and ecosystems that provide natural “buffers” to storms, renewed efforts should be made to preserve coastal areas consistent with effective state and federal laws, using uniform, objective standards.
Insure Based On Risk
Private and public property insurance premiums should be established on the basis of risk exposure, including catastrophic risk, subject to state law that risk premiums should be neither excessive nor inadequate.
Responsibility for state insurance and reinsurance programs that pool natural disaster risks should remain with those states which have established such programs, rather than shifting the financing to the Federal government through such means as Federal loans or reinsurance.
Target Government Assistance
Programs should focus on people and not insurance: Extend tax credits, loans and grants for measures designed to protect the property from natural disasters – rather than for programs designed to support artificially low insurance rates. Provide means-based assistance, focused on low and fixed income residents – not high income individuals with expensive beach front or vacation homes. Help existing property in coastal areas and other high-risk areas — Federal assistance should not subsidize new property development in coastal areas vulnerable to catastrophic storms, or other high-risk areas.