MEDIA ADVISORY: Widespread Flooding Often Accompanies Strong Winds From Hurricanes

August 24, 2011

INSURANCE INFORMATION INSTITUTE
New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org

NEW YORK, August 24, 2011 While those tracking Hurricane Irene are correctly paying attention to wind speeds, it is important to remember that heavy flooding from the storm surge and torrential rains caused by a hurricane also can cause major damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)
 
For example, Hurricane Floyd made landfall in North Carolina in 1999 and tracked up the East Coast, causing nearly $2 billion in insured property damage paid by private insurance companies. But the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) paid an additional $462 million in flood insurance claims throughout the Mid-Atlantic states and into New England, as far north as Maine.
 
 
“It may come as some surprise, but the top 10 most costly flood events in U.S. history are associated with hurricanes and tropical storms, with insured flood losses from Hurricane Katrina topping the list at $16 billion,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, I.I.I. president and an economist.

TOP TEN SIGNIFICANT FLOOD EVENTS, RANKED BY NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM PAYOUTS (1)

Rank Event Location Date Number of
paid losses
Amount paid
($ millions)
Average
paid loss
1 Hurricane Katrina AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN Aug. 2005 166,675 $16,128 $96,764
2 Hurricane Ike AL, LA, TX Sep. 2008 46,585 2,644 57,125
3 Hurricane Ivan AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV Sep. 2004 27,648 1,586 57,381
4 Tropical Storm Allison FL, LA, MS, NJ, PA, TX Jun. 2001 30,663 1,104 36,000
5 Hurricane Irene CT, DC, DE, MA, ME, MD, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, PR, RI, VA, VT Aug. 2011 36,360 928 25,511
6 Louisiana Flood LA May 1995 31,343 585 18,667
7 Hurricane Isabel DE, MD, NJ, NY, NC, PA, VA, WV Sep. 2003 19,857 493 24,806
8 Hurricane Floyd CT, DE, FL, GA, MA, ME, MD, NH,
NJ, NY, NC, PA, RI, SC, VA, VT
Sep. 1999 20,438 462 22,618
9 Hurricane Rita AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, TN, TX Sep. 2005 9,494 470 49,534
10 Hurricane Opal AL, NC, PR, SC, TN Oct. 1995 10,343 406 39,208

(1) Includes events from 1978 to December 31, 2011. Defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as an event that produces at least 1,500 paid losses. Stated in dollars when occurred.

Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency.

 

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