The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) has applauded the Biden-Harris Administration for its new initiative to modernize building codes across the US and ultimately help communities become more resilient to climate change-induced severe weather.
On June 1, the White House announced that it was launching a “National Initiative to Advance Building Codes,” which would serve as guidelines for state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments to adopt climate change resilience building codes.
According to the federal announcement, modern building codes and standards provide a selection of smart design and construction methods that can “save lives, reduce property damage, and lower utility bills,” through things such as hurricane-resistant roofing, proper insulation, fire-retardant materials and more.
“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,” a White House release said, citing data from the National Institute of Building Sciences.
The government also noted that modernized energy codes can help households save an average of $162 dollars a year.
On top of updating building codes across the US, the government also committed to conduct a comprehensive review of federal funding and financing of building construction, to ensure that federally-supported housing and other building projects “follow modern building codes and standards to the greatest extent feasible.”
The announcement was met with praise by the APCIA.
“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. This action is critical to increasing their capacity to withstand, respond to, and recover from natural disasters,” said APCIA senior vice president of federal government relations Nat Wienecke.
“Property casualty insurers serve as frontline responders following natural disasters, assisting policyholders in navigating the recovery process and helping their customers rebuild their lives and restore their property. For decades APCIA members have advocated for policies and increased investments that help prevent and reduce such devastation. This includes establishing and funding loss mitigation-focused organizations like the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.”
Wienecke added that the government’s promotion of resilience and efficient building standards – for federally-supported housing through Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds and Department of Housing and Urban Development programs – will help to assist underserved communities, particularly those who have been “historically vulnerable” to the long-terms impacts of catastrophes.
“We also applaud the administration’s announcement that it will undertake a comprehensive review of federal programs that support new construction or rehabilitation of structures, and work to incorporate the latest consensus-based building codes,” said Wienecke.