On April 23, 2013, the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) published a request for comments and information about natural catastrophes and the current state of the market for insurance for natural catastrophe perils in the U.S. The comment period is open through June 23, 2013.

Under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters Act), the FIO must publish an assessment of the market for natural catastrophe insurance by July 6, 2013. Additional information regarding the Biggert-Waters Act and issues related to insuring catastrophe risk is available in FIO Focus issue 17.

The FIO has requested comments on the:

  1. availability and affordability of insurance for natural catastrophe perils in all regions of the U.S., and whether a definition of a “natural catastrophe” should be established;
  2. ability of states, communities, and individuals to mitigate natural catastrophe risks and the affordability and feasibility of such mitigation activities;
    • current and potential future effects of land use policies and building codes on the costs of natural catastrophes in the U.S.;
    • percentage of residential properties that are insured for earthquake or flood damage in high-risk areas of the U.S. and the reasons why many such properties lack insurance coverage;
    • role of insurers in providing incentives for risk mitigation efforts;
  3. current state of catastrophic insurance and reinsurance markets and approaches in providing insurance protection to different sectors of the U.S. population;
  4. current financial condition of residual markets and catastrophe funds in high-risk regions, including the likelihood of insolvency following a natural catastrophe, concentration of risks within such funds, reliance on post-event assessments and state funding, and adequacy of rates;
  5. current role of the federal government and state and local governments in providing incentives for feasible risk mitigation efforts and the cost of providing post-natural catastrophe aid in the absence of insurance;
  6. current approaches to insuring natural catastrophe risks in the U.S.
    • current and potential future federal, state and regional partnerships that support private, direct insurance coverage;
    • the potential privatization of flood insurance in the U.S.; and,
  7. other information that may be necessary or appropriate for the report.

States and state agencies, business organizations, insurance trade and professional associations, researchers from academia, consulting firms, and other organizations and experts are requested to submit papers containing empirical or non-empirical analyses or evaluations of natural catastrophes and the current state of the market for insurance for natural catastrophe perils in the U.S.