As the COVID-19 pandemic continues into hurricane season and shifts the risk landscape for corporate and public sector entities alike, there is now a prime opportunity for governments to put the wide-ranging expertise and modeling capabilities of the (re)insurance industry to use.
The Atlantic hurricane season is now officially underway, and The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting it to be a busy one, with an above-average six to 10 hurricanes. Meanwhile the U.S. federal government’s hurricane response agency, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is currently leading the response to coronavirus. Given the likelihood that we will soon see both hurricanes and coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should manage the ongoing pandemic response so FEMA can prepare for coming “coronacanes.”
FEMA should lead the federal government’s response to coronavirus. Soon thereafter, the U.S. administration directed FEMA to take this role. Since then, FEMA has filled gaps in the response by untangling complex supply chains and facilitating expedited delivery of needed personal protective equipment and testing supplies. It surged its staff, shared its operational know-how and disbursed well over a billion dollars in funding.
In recent weeks, the pandemic response has been transitioning to the recovery phase of the disaster. Traditionally, this means FEMA transferring responsibilities back to the states and the agency serving more as the federal government’s piggy bank than its responder-in-chief. This recovery phase will last months, if not years, as FEMA financially supports states with its USD 80 billion disaster fund.