To date, the cost of natural disasters befalling the U.S. has reached $35 billion. The year is not yet over and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts several turbulent storms crowding the horizon. While there can be no guarantee whether these storms will actually come to pass, the federal government is not willing to suffer more losses at the hands of nature. NOAA, along with the National Weather Service, is now tasked with making the nation “weather-ready.”
The initiative aims to provide protection to communities throughout the nation that are growing increasingly vulnerable to tornado outbreaks, drought, flooding and hurricanes. Another goal of the initiative — and one that may seem slightly more science-fiction — is to protect the nation from solar storms, which cause damage to electrical and communication systems. NOAA believes that the plan is necessary, citing growing concerns regarding climate change.
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NOAA’s efforts would be in vain without help from the insurance industry. Insurers are being tapped to provide insight on how existing regulations can be changed to better mitigate loss from disastrous weather. According to Munich Reinsurance America, the number of natural disasters has tripled in the past two decades. While that may be grim news, both NOAA and the International Association of Emergency Managers notes that if communities are well protected against destructive weather, there will be less loss of life and quicker recovery.