Representatives of the housing and insurance industries, along with members of Congress and key congressional staff, are urging Congress to act quickly to enact comprehensive federal national natural disaster legislation.

The National Association of Realtors hosted the Federal Natural Disaster Policy Symposium Monday to help identify appropriate federal policies for dealing with a potential crisis.

About 100 people from a variety of associations, nongovernmental organizations, congressional offices and federal agencies attended, NAR said. The Realtor association has lobbied Congress to ensure the availability and affordability of disaster insurance.

Cynthia Shelton, NAR Commercial and Business Specialties Group liaison and a Realtor with Northstar Brokerage Services in Orlando, Fla., moderated Monday’s meeting. She noted that natural disasters are not only a concern to a few select states. “Natural disasters come in many forms and affect many different areas of the country,” said Shelton. “Beyond hurricanes and floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires and ice storms can cause significant damage and can result in catastrophic costs. Whatever the event and wherever it may occur, we must prepare now.”

Without a comprehensive federal policy to plan for natural disasters and mitigate their effects, the American taxpayer will pay the price, Shelton said.

Keynote speaker Kevin McCarty, Commissioner of the Office of Insurance Regulation for the State of Florida, said, “If I leave you with one message today it is this: Natural catastrophes are a national problem that requires a national solution.” McCarty noted that Hurricane Katrina highlighted many of the pitfalls in today’s insurance structure. “State resources are not sufficient to handle mega-catastrophes; we must engage in planning before a disaster; and we are confronting an economic problem, not an insurance problem,” said McCarty.

McCarty said that when a catastrophe hits it affects far more than insurance companies and the victims of these events. “It places stress on the home builders market, the banking market, land development markets, real estate values, community tax bases, unemployment rates, and ultimately affects the economic security of all Americans,” said McCarty.

Other participants at the symposium included L. James Valverde, vice president, economic and risk management at the Insurance Information Institute; Chris Wilson, managing partner at First Choice; Mitchell Glassman, from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.; Mike Grimm from FEMA; and a host of congressional staff representatives.

Recent research conducted by NAR in Florida concluded that the lack of affordable or available homeowner’s insurance in that state contributed to the slowdown in Florida real estate, impacting the overall economic activity in the region. In earlier congressional testimony, NAR stated that a strong real estate market is a linchpin of a healthy economy, generating jobs, wages, tax revenues and a demand for goods and services. To maintain a strong economic climate, the vitality of residential and commercial real estate must be safeguarded, NAR said.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
The best of real estate is gathering in Las Vegas NEXT month! Grab your ticket before prices go up on October 1.Register Now×
Limited time: Get 30 days of Inman Select for $5.SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription