Tsunamis and Earthquakes: Is Federal Disaster Insurance in Our Future? [Updated November 7, 2006] [open pdf - 120KB]
"In the aftermath of the 2004 Indonesian tsunami and America's continued vulnerability to seismic hazards, including the 2006 Hawaiian earthquake, Members of Congress might elect to focus attention on the vulnerability of the U.S. coastlines to offshore earthquakes and tsunamis, and the potential effects of a major earthquake on both the homeowners' insurance market and the overall U.S. economy. Congress has debated the vulnerability of America's coastlines to earthquake and tsunami hazard risks, leading to legislative action following the April 1992 California earthquake/tsunami and the 1964 earthquake/tsunami at Alaska's Prince William Sound. Although a federal flood insurance program was eventually enacted in 1968 in response to the 1964 earthquake, it took Congress another decade to address the nation's exposure to earthquake hazards with the enactment of the Earthquake Hazard Reduction Act of 1977. Congress did not create an explicit federal earthquake insurance program, albeit the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program was established in 1992. Some insurance and disaster policy experts suggest the time has come to implement a federal insurance or reinsurance program for earthquakes and other seismic risks. Conversely, other experts question the need for such a program. This report will be updated as events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32847