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Before the Next Disaster Strikes

After 2017, a year of natural disasters that racked up nearly $306 billion dollars in total economic losses, organizations in the mortgage and housing industry are taking heed and proceeding into the 2018 disaster season and beyond with caution and preparation.

Industry leaders are announcing foreclosure prevention programs and postponement options, like Fannie Mae’s recent statement assisting borrowers affected by the recent California wildfires. Additionally, CoreLogic, a global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, has announced the launch of its publicly-accessible risk information center, Hazard HQ, which will “offer individuals, media, and companies high-level analyses and up-to-date data insights on the immediate risks natural catastrophes pose to properties across the country.”

Hazard HQ offers a “high-level risk perspective for individuals and companies who wish to understand how hazards like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, severe convective storms, wildfires, wind and volcanic activity can impact their regions.” The ongoing California wildfires are the current focus of the latest Hazard HQ risk summary, with plans to continue that assessment as the blazes continue across the state.

“Mortgage and insurance professionals are struggling to see the complete picture of risk when natural catastrophes strike, particularly as these events evolve and grow as the ongoing wildfires in California have done,” said Maiclaire Bolton Smith, senior leader, research & content strategy at CoreLogic. “Hazard HQ was designed to drive visibility of natural catastrophe risk and act as a home base for all insights pertaining to these risks. It’s the latest endeavor in the CoreLogic commitment to making risk information accessible as the economic impact of natural catastrophes increases.”

These announcements are accompanied by reports from organizations like the Urban Institute, which recently released an article diving into the effects that still linger on in the lives of disaster victims. Issues such as inaccessibility to the owner of the household due to emergency relocation in order to begin inspection or a discrepancy in quality and consistency of inspectors and techniques left many victims of Hurricane Harvey out in the cold, the authors note.

As Fannie Mae noted in their statement announcing their mortgage assistance programs, the safety of these borrowers and homeowners remains a major concern in the industry's operations.

“Our thoughts are with the families and communities impacted by the devastating California wildfires,” Carlos Perez, SVP and Chief Credit Officer at Fannie Mae said in a statement. “Fannie Mae and our servicing partners are focused on ensuring mortgage assistance is available during this challenging time. We urge everyone in the area to be safe, and we encourage homeowners affected by the fires to contact their mortgage servicer for assistance as soon as possible.”

See more stories about the industry's reaction to recent disasters here:

Hurricane Harvey’s Effect on Flood Insurance Coverage

Senate Extends National Flood Insurance Program

HUD Approves $1.5B Disaster Aid for Puerto Rico

Preparing for Natural Disasters: An Industry Perspective

About Author: Kristina Brewer

Kristina Brewer is the Editorial Assistant of Publications for the Five Star Institute, including DS News and MReport magazine. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas (UNT), where she received her Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in rhetoric and writing and a minor in global marketing. During this time, she served as Director of Philanthropy in the national women’s fraternity Zeta Tau Alpha, of which she is an alumna. Her passion for philanthropy continued after university when she was an intern at Keep Denton Beautiful, a local partner of Keep America Beautiful, where she drove membership, organized events, and led social media campaigns. Brewer honed her writing at the North Texas Daily, UNT’s student-run newspaper where she wrote about faculty, mentorship, and student life. Brewer also previously worked at Optimus Business Plans where she helped start-ups create funding proposals, risk assessments, and management plans.
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