Is Your State at Risk of Coastal Flooding?

Major flooding disasters have become increasingly common over the last few years. So much so, that flooding was identified as the top natural hazard risk of 2017, affecting a number of both inland and coastal areas. Three of the biggest flood events in 2017 resulted from the trio of hurricanes that battered coastal residents, with coastal flooding from Hurricane Irma causing damage as far north as Charleston, South Carolina.

Flooding in coastal areas, especially when associated with a landfalling hurricane or other major storm, can be devastating for residents and business owners. Having adequate coastal insurance coverage can help homeowners and business owners recover from flood damage, but efforts to make coastal areas less susceptible to flood damage need to happen to. The infrastructures in coastal areas are uniquely at risk of climate change impacts from the direction of both inland and ocean sides. These infrastructures were previously built taking into account the historical variabilities in climate conditions, and many are not prepared to endure the accelerated changes in climate that are projected based on recent years’ activity.

Billions of Dollars in Property at Risk

According a very recent analysis of coastal flooding released by the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, many homeowners, home buyers, and neighborhoods will face growing risks as sea levels rise over the coming decades. Using Zillow data and global average sea level predictions, the analysis estimates that approximately $135 billion in property will be at risk of chronic, disruptive flooding by the year 2045. Even barring climate change from the conversation, it’s impossible to discount the amount of property damage that one hurricane can cause. Hurricane Irma alone is estimated to have caused at least $50 billion in property damage.

Which States are Most at Risk?

The States at Risk report card offers insight into the different hazards faced by each state, including coastal flooding risks. The analysis projects each state’s coastal flooding threat based on the number of people living in the area that are at risk of being affected by a 100-year coastal flood and taking into account projected increases in sea level. States are then graded based on their odds of being affected by damaging coastal floods as well as actions they have taken to reduce damage to coastal infrastructures.

Virginia, for example, currently has 164,000 residents at risk of coastal flooding, and by 2050, an additional 137,000 people are projected to be at risk as well. The state falls in the middle of the pack on the States at Risk report card for preparedness actions taken to address coastal flooding risks. For more information on a particular state, visit http://statesatrisk.org/.

If your state or region has a particularly high risk of being impacted by flooding, this is the time for you to ensure that you have a comprehensive coastal program including flood insurance to offer to your coastal clients. Even if they already have homeowners or commercial property coverage, that will not be sufficient to protect them from the coming storms.

About Wilmington Insurance Agency

Wilmington Insurance Agency delivers comprehensive coastal property solutions. We are a Managing General Agency and provide independent insurance agents with property and liability insurance solutions for residents and businesses primarily in Maryland and Virginia. We work alongside our sister company, Wilmington Insurance Company, established in 1996 and providing Property & Casualty commercial lines business, homeowners, and condominium insurance in the state of Delaware. To learn more about how we can help you to expand your book of business in the coastal market, contact us at (302) 231-2800.