Opportunities exist in the public and private sectors to increase the disaster resistance of homes and businesses and contribute to the overall health of Maryland’s insurance market, says Harvey Ryland, president and CEO of the Institute for Business & Home Safety.
Ryland delivered this message on Wednesday during a public hearing of the state Task Force on the Availability and Affordability of Property Insurance in Coastal Areas. The hearing is the first of four to be held on the issues surrounding the property insurance market in Maryland, which like other coastal states is facing increased risks from natural disasters.
Reducing risk is one way to influence the property insurance market, while also contributing to the continued viability of the state’s communities, Ryland said. Opportunities exist in state and local government and the retail and banking industries to offer incentives to help home and business owners protect their property against losses, he said.
Ryland says a successful reduction of property losses begins with the enforcement of statewide building codes. Other important mileposts include the construction of disaster-resistant structures, the retrofitting of existing homes and businesses, and the need for a comprehensive disaster planning approach for small and mid-sized businesses.
“We know how to protect homes and businesses against natural disasters and every day threats, and in many cases the costs are not prohibitive,” Ryland told the task force. “We need your help in making the demand for disaster-resistant structures a public value. There are many things that can be done in the public and private sectors to encourage residents to take action to reduce property losses.”
The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) is a nonprofit insurance trade association dedicated to reducing the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other property losses by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.
Source: IBHS, www.disastersafety.org.
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