US homes facing increased risk from natural hazards

CoreLogic report finds wildfires, floods above average for past 3 years

US homes facing increased risk from natural hazards

Natural hazards have been elevated over the past three years according to a report from CoreLogic, increasing risk for homeowners and their mortgage lenders.

The property information firm has looked at global data on natural hazard events including wildfires and flooding; including Atlantic and Pacific hurricanes, flooding, wind, wildfire, earthquake and volcano, hail and tornado.

“In 2018, the US continued to experience damaging weather and natural catastrophes in high exposure areas, and in some instances, in regions that had been impacted in less than a year prior,” said Howard Botts, chief scientist, CoreLogic. “Hazards will always pose a real threat to homes and businesses and knowing exactly what that risk entails is critical to helping ensure sufficient protection from the financial catastrophes that so often follow natural disasters.”

In 2018, the US experienced over 1,600 significant flood events with 59% flash flood-related.

Residential and commercial flood damage in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia from Hurricane Florence is estimated at between $19-$28.5 billion, of which roughly 85% of residential flood losses was uninsured.

Floods in Texas, North and South Carolina, Maryland and Wisconsin, experienced 1,000-year floods with several areas hit less than 2 years after their last 1,000-year floods.

Six percent of properties nationwide are within Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and approximately one-third of those have flood insurance policies.

Atlantic Hurricanes
The 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season saw 15 named storms including 8 named hurricanes. Hurricanes Florence and Michael made landfall along the US, making 2018 the third back-to-back season of above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

Approximately 700,000 residential and commercial properties experienced catastrophic flooding and wind damage from Hurricane Florence, where it is estimated to have caused $20-$30 billion in insured and uninsured loss.

Michael was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the US since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and is estimated to have caused $2.5-$4 billion in residential and commercial insured loss from wind and storm surge.

A total of 11 western states had at least one wildfire that exceeded 50,000 burned acres; the leading states were California and Oregon, each with seven fires that burned more than 50,000 acres.

The November 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California destroyed nearly the entire city of Paradise and brought damage or destruction to 18,804 structures (NIFC, 2018).

The Woolsey wildfire in the coastal community of Malibu destroyed more than 1,600 structures (Los Angeles County Fire Dept, 2017).

CoreLogic estimates that the combined total insured and uninsured loss for these two wildfires is between $15 billion and $19 billion.