Coastal Development Accelerating

The continuing population influx to high risk coastal areas is an ongoing issue for U.S. property insurers, as is the rise in coastal properties. Unfortunately, a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) survey of land use along U.S. coasts indicates that the pace of development in coastal areas is increasing. The survey shows that 53 percent of the new development between 1996 and 2001 occurred along the Southeastern U.S. coast between Texas and North Carolina. The biggest areas of new development include Harris County (Houston), Texas; Palm Beach County, Florida; and Will County (Chicago), Illinois. NOAA also notes that the Mid-Atlantic three-state area of Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, including the District of Columbia, now has development covering over 10 percent of the total land area. An additional area approximating half the size of Washington, D.C., is estimated to be already cleared for development.

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