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Hurricane Barry’s $300M Cost to Insurers

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Total losses from Hurricane Barry were expected to exceed $600 million, Insurance Journal reports. Additionally, public and private insurers paid out nearly $300 million according to the Aon Global Catastrophe Recap report.

In a report earlier this year, CoreLogic reported that insured residential and commercial flood loss covered by the NFIP is estimated to be between $100 million and $200 million after Hurricane Barry, but 20% of residential flood loss is uninsured. CoreLogic states that uninsured flood loss is estimated to be approximately $100 million, while approximately 500,000 total residential and commercial property policies are in force through the NFIP.

Wind losses, not covered by the NFIP, are expected to total between $300 million and $500 million. Insured flood and wind losses, excluding National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) losses, are between $300 million and $600 million.

Craig Poulton, CEO of private flood insurer Poulton Associates, told Insurance Business that continuing to build in flood risk zones is “insane.”

“As all of these named storms have proven in one way or another, we simply on a local level and a national level are not responding to the new reality,” said Poulton on Insurance Business. “We need to recognize that we have to stop putting lives and values in the way of storms, and in the way of flooding in particular.”

Lawmakers are taking some steps to update the NFIP. For example, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith is proposing an update to the Program which aims to address the multiple extensions the NFIP has undergone with a long-term extension plan.

In her letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Michael Crapo and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown, Hyde-Smith puts forth several options to address affordability issues among low and middle-income policy holders and debt issues within the NFIP. 

Recently, the House Financial Services Committee unanimously approved two bills to reform and reauthorize the NFIP. H.R. 3111 would bring improvements to the NFIP appeals process, accountability, and transparency of claims process in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and H.R. 3167 would reauthorize the NFIP for five years and includes numerous reforms to increase affordability, mapping and modernization.

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