Just in time for the start of the Atlantic Hurricane season, CoreLogic® (NYSE: CLGX) came out with its 2019 CoreLogic Storm Surge report, which shows more than 7.3 million single- and multifamily homes along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts have the potential for storm surge damage, with a total estimated reconstruction cost value (RCV) of nearly $1.8 trillion.

Early predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate a near-normal year for the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season. The Atlantic season starts June 1.

The CoreLogic Storm Surge report provides an annual evaluation of the number of homes in the United States that are vulnerable to storm surge in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Basin, which includes every state from Texas to Maine, approximately 3,700 miles. The report also includes associated RCV of these properties, which is calculated using the combined cost of construction materials as well as equipment and labor. The analysis examines risk across 19 states and 85 Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSA). This is the first year the Storm Surge report analysis includes multifamily structures, which encompass apartments, condominiums and multi-unit dwellings.

“It is essential to understand and evaluate the total hazard exposure of properties at risk of storm surge prior to a hurricane event, so insurers can better protect and restore property owners from financial catastrophe,” said Dr. Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic. “Damage from storm surge and inland flooding has proven to be far more destructive than wind in recent years, so we cannot rely on the hurricane category alone to give us a sense of the potential loss. A Category 5 hurricane in an area with few structures may be far less devastating than a Category 1 hurricane in a densely populated area.”

Regional Implications

  • The Atlantic Coast contains 57% of the total homes at risk of storm surge flooding and 62.7% of the total RCV. The region has more than 4.1 million homes at risk of storm surge with an RCV of over $1.1 trillion.
  • Conversely, the Gulf Coast contains 43% of the homes at risk and 37.3% of the total RCV. The region has nearly 3.1 million homes at risk with over $668 billion in potential exposure to total destruction damage.

State Implications

  • Florida, Louisiana, New York and Texas have the greatest number of homes at risk of storm surge.
  • Florida has the most exposure to storm surge flooding, with more than 2.9 million homes at risk. The state also has the highest RCV at over $603 billion.
  • Louisiana has the second most exposure to storm surge flooding, with more than 847,000 at-risk homes and the third highest RCV at over $202 billion.
  • In New York, the density of the residential population near the coast makes it extremely vulnerable to flooding despite less frequent hurricane events. New York ranks third in the number of homes at risk (over 564,000) and second in RCV (over $240 billion).
  • Texas ranks fourth with more than 561,000 at-risk homes. Texas has the fifth-highest RCV with more than $113 billion.

Metro Implications

CoreLogic looked at 85 Core-Based Statistical Areas (CBSA) to determine the metropolitan areas with the greatest number of homes exposed to and the highest RCV from storm surge flooding.

  • The New York, Newark and Jersey City metro area has the greatest risk of storm surge with just over 831,000 homes at risk and RCV of over $330 billion. Although this number of homes at risk is similar to that of the Miami metro area, the RCV for these homes is double Miami’s metro area RCV.
  • The Miami, Florida metro area that includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, Florida follows the New York metro area with more than 827,000 homes at risk and an RCV of $166 billion.
  • Because of the density of residences in large metro areas, the top 15 CBSAs account for 67.5% of the total number of homes at risk and 68.9% of the total RCV for storm surge risk in the United States. This underscores the importance of considering location of future storms when assessing the potential for catastrophic damage.