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Knowledge Center Items 2017: The Year of Disastrous Wildfires & Hurricane-Related Floods in the U.S.

2017: The Year of Disastrous Wildfires & Hurricane-Related Floods in the U.S.

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Last year showed relatively average activity for most U.S. natural hazards, says a new report from CoreLogic, a leading global information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, except for the wildfires in California and flooding as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These events devastated communities and caused billions in insured and economic damages. Here’s a look at highlights of the damage caused by some of the natural catastrophes in 2017, according to CoreLogic:

Flooding from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma resulted in an estimated $69 billion to $105 billion in residential and commercial damage. In Texas, Harvey caused an estimated $40 billion to $59 billion, of which $25 billion to $37 billion is residential damage and $15 billion to $22 billion is commercial damage. Moreover, about 75% of the flood damage to residential properties from Hurricane Harvey was uninsured.

Hurricane Irma, which caused flood damage in Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, is estimated to have cost $29 billion to $46 billion in damages, of which $25 billion to $38 billion is residential damage and $4 billion to $8 billion is commercial damage. About 80% of the flood damage to residential properties from Hurricane Irma was uninsured.

Wildfires in 2017 burned 9,791,062 acres, the third highest in U.S. history. According to a recently released catastrophe report by Aon, wildfires caused $14 billion of insurance losses in 2017 – the highest on record for the peril. The top most destructive wildfires in 2017 were in California in terms of structures destroyed. These include the Tubbs Fire in northern California, which burned 36,807 acres and 5,643 structures; the Nuns Fire in northern California, which burned 54,382 acres and 1,355 structures; the Thomas Fire in southern California, which burned 281,893 acres and 1,063 structures; and Atlas Fire in northern California; which burned 51,624 acres and 781 structures; among others. The October fire in northern California alone caused nearly $13 billion in economic damage.

Other catastrophes included earthquakes, hail and tornadoes. Denver, Colorado experienced the worst of hail damage with estimated losses of $1.4 billion from approximately 150,000 auto insurance claims and approximately 50,000 homeowner insurance claims. The number of tornadoes in 2017 was above average with 1,522-recorded tornadoes, making it the third most active year since 2005.

These events illustrate the extent of damage caused by severe weather throughout the country. They also underscore the need for proper insurance protection with so many residents uninsured for flood damage and underinsured when it comes to having the proper property limits to replace their homes after a wildfire catastrophe.

RPS specializes in providing agents with personal lines solutions for their clients. We offer Flood and Excess Flood insurance and affluent personal lines coverage.

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