Hurricane Harvey: 8/25 Evening Update

  • CoreLogic (via email blast) pegs insurance losses from Harvey between $1 billion and $2 billion. This excludes flood losses covered by National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and business interruption.
  • This increasingly looks like what Weather Underground calls a “colossal” flood event, with more than 20 inches of rain forecast over an area the size of Massachusetts, including Galveston and Houston. The more extreme models “break the map,” meaning there aren’t enough colors to portray visually the amount of rain forecast.
  • The rain plus the storm surge (4+ feet across the 200+ miles from Sargent to Port Mansfield, topping out at 12 feet [Sandy maxed out at 9 feet]) is likely to push flooding into Galveston Bay and Houston’s shipping canal.
  • The flooding is likely to test NFIP’s nascent private reinsurance program: 26 percent of losses in the $4 billion excess $4 billion later. (I blogged about the structure here.)
  • Remember that the standard homeowners’ policy doesn’t cover flooding – you have to have flood insurance from NFIP or a private policy that specifically covers flood.
  • If you are there, follow the advice from I.I.I. CEO Sean Kevelighan in our press release and “listen to local authorities, while also doing what is needed to prepare, such as reinforcing windows with shutters and taking a home inventory, if time permits. If you have to evacuate, bring your financial documents, including your insurance policy, so you can start the claims process once the storm has passed.
    “Keep in mind, the more prepared you are, the greater the potential to be more resilient and withstand damage.”
  • I would just add that if you have the time, photograph areas likely to flood as evidence for a subsequent claim. Be sure to photograph drapes and carpets, which people seem to forget but can be surprisingly expensive to replace.

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