According to a study by experts at Stanford University, over the past 30 years, intensifying rainfall brought on by climate change has cost the United States up to $75 billion in flood damage.
The research results, which were published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide insight into the rising costs of flooding as well as the increased risk that homeowners, contractors, banks, and insurers face as the world heats.
According to the report, which examined socioeconomic and climate data to quantify the relationship between changing historical rainfall trends and historical flood costs, losses brought on by worsening extreme rains accounted for close to one-third of the total monetary cost of flooding in the U.S. between 1988 and 2017.
In the United States, flooding is a factor in nearly 90% of all natural catastrophes, and the lack of adequate flood protection has received much attention.
Only 30% of homes in the highest-risk locations carry flood insurance on average nationwide, according to the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a partner in the Triple-I Resilience Accelerator.
Less than 25% of the homes that Hurricanes Harvey, Sandy, and Irma inundated had insurance.
There is proof of the significant and ongoing lack of flood insurance in the United States following floods, in fact.
Even worse, according to recent research by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, the United States is appallingly unprepared for destructive floods.
Comparing the foundation’s assessment to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood designation, “almost 1.7 times the number of properties are identified as having substantial risk.”
Most homeowner insurance policies don’t contain flood coverage, so many people might not be aware they don’t have it if their bank didn’t mandate it as a condition of granting a mortgage.
Up until recently, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was the only option because flood insurance was thought to be an uninsurable risk for private insurers to write.
But in recent years, Congress passed new legislation to encourage the development of a strong domestic private flood insurance market.
Regulators issued guidelines last year that let private carriers provide flood insurance policies outside of the NFIP and be eligible for the mortgage flood insurance requirement.
The development of private-sector flood insurance is being fueled by carriers and reinsurers who are increasing their use of sophisticated models to evaluate flood risk.