Agosto 09, 2020

United States homeowners, taxpayers face billions in losses from Harvey flooding

31 Agosto 2017, 03:45 | Fidele Alvizo

United States homeowners, taxpayers face billions in losses from Harvey flooding

United States homeowners, taxpayers face billions in losses from Harvey flooding

So the risk of major claims is lower, but flood insurance premiums don't take that into account, he said.

Experts warn about complacency, especially in areas that are not prone to flooding. The numbers are still being calculated, but the cost will inevitably overwhelm the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a financially strained government-managed initiative.

"Harvey was nearly certainly more intense than it would have been in the absence of human-caused warming, which means stronger winds, more wind damage, and a larger storm surge", said Michael Mann, professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State.

The federal government in a backhanded way will cover those who don't have insurance anyway.

If you're in a low-risk zone, you can get a flood insurance policy for relatively cheap.

Hurricanes typically cause a range of losses, ranging from estimated impact on the economy to property losses to insurance claims for flood, wind and other damages. There are complaints about the cost of policies and delays in processing claims.

"Flood insurance is really recommended for anybody who has rainfall in their area", said McChristian.

The 49-year-old programme is now run by Fema.

To understand the scale of it, Harvey is set to surpass Hurricane Ike's $35 billion cost but will have to inflict more damage to reach Hurricane Katrina's roughly $110 billion worth of damage when it hit New Orleans back in 2005.

Emily Naden, with the Building Owners and Managers Association, which in Houston alone represents owners and managers of 312 million square feet of office space and 43,000 jobs, said the organization has been pushing for reforms, but must prioritize avoiding a lapse in coverage. It now owes the Treasury US$24.6 billion.

Hensarling pushed for more aggressive changes to the program as part of the five year re-authorization.

Hurricane Harvey will nearly certainly lead to further borrowing - but the programme has only US$5.8 billion left in its existing line of credit with the Treasury. Lawmakers have occasionally granted such extensions in the past.

"It's time to stop using the words "unprecedented" or "one in a pick-your-large-number-year flood" to fool ourselves into believing that we're experiencing one-off disasters that can't be defended against", Ferraro writes.

In Houston and nearby areas impacted by the storm, there are "more than twice as many mortgage properties with almost four times the unpaid principal balance" as there were in the counties hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, according to data cited by CNBC from Black Knight Financial Services.

"It just creates havoc in the housing market", she said.

"I think it'll happen very quickly", Trump said of the aid bill.

As a result, from a reinsurance company perspective, losses are expected to mostly fall within primary insurers' retention levels under catastrophe reinsurance programs, Fitch said, with a small amount ceded to reinsurers.

"Now is as good a time as any to get flood insurance", Norberg said.

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