Natural Disasters Impose Enormous Costs on America

  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there were 25 major disasters from 2011-2012 that surpassed $1 billion in economic losses. When the final costs of Sandy are tabulated, the economic toll of these disasters is likely to near $200 billion.
  • 2011 natural disaster economic losses equaled $52 billion in the U.S. and approximately $380 billion worldwide.
  • With 551 fatalities, the 2011 U.S. tornado season was the deadliest in more than 85 years. The Atlantic hurricane season was the third strongest since record-keeping began, with 19 named storms. And in May and June of 2011, the worst floods in decades occurred along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, causing more than $5 billion in overall losses.
  • Hurricane Irene is likely to go down as the eighth most costly catastrophe in the nation’s history.
  • Since 1980, natural disasters have cost the country more than $750 billion.

Strong Building Codes Save Lives and Protect Property

  • The Louisiana State University (LSU) Hurricane Center estimated that stronger building codes would have reduced wind damage from Hurricane Katrina by 80 percent, saving $8 billion.
  • LSU also studied the impact of strong building codes on a Katrina-level Category Three storm in the state of Mississippi. Strong building codes would have reduced storm damage by $3.1 billion and saved nearly 40,000 buildings from being destroyed or significantly damaged.
  • According to a FEMA commissioned study conducted by the National Institute of Building Sciences, every $1 spent on hazard mitigation provides the nation with $4 in future benefits.
  • Another IBHS study following Hurricane Charley in 2004 found that modern building codes reduced the severity of property losses by 42 percent and the frequency of losses by 60 percent.
  • Twenty five percent of small businesses that are impacted by a natural disaster never reopen their doors.