1.6 Million Florida Homes at High Risk of Flooding from Irma Uninsured
Hurricane Irma was an exceptional event which will go down in history as part of one of the busiest and most costly hurricane seasons the US has seen.
Evan as Harvey made landfall, Irma, one of the strongest recorded hurricanes based on sustained wind speed, marched across the Atlantic resulting in one of the largest evacuations in Florida’s history. Irma’s effects included 142-mph wind gusts in Naples, water retreating out of Tampa Bay, and major flooding in Florida and the Southeast. It maintained Category 5 status for more than 3 days; one of the the longest known periods for such a storm in the Atlantic Basin. Irma’s wind speed and size carried an energy value of 112 terajoules, similar to the energy of Katrina in 2005. Storm surge and heavy rainfall from Irma continued to cause widespread flooding in Jacksonville, FL and Charleston, SC, on Monday, Sept. 11.
Irma was not as extreme as Andrew or Wilma on some counts, yet it had more widespread impacts on Florida and the Southeast.
What did we know before it made landfall?
The interactive map below presents some statistics at a county level. Hover or click on each county for more details. Additional higher resolution maps and narratives below shed light on various issues.
- 4.4 Million out of Florida’s 18.8 Million residents live in high risk flood zones. 26% of the state’s properties are located in a high risk flood zone.
- More than 66%, or 1.6 million homes in high risk zones in the state of Florida do not carry flood insurance. Many more are exposed to risk to an extreme and widespread event like Irma. More than 92% of homes in moderate to low risk areas in the state do not carry flood insurance.
- 1 out of every 3 individual claims in Florida throughout the entire history of the National Flood Insurance Program, have originated from properties outside the flood zones regulated by FEMA
- In Florida, there have been over 255,000 claims filed for flood losses in the history of the NFIP, paying claimants a total of over $4.2 billion for losses. 20% of that amount was paid for claims outside of the regulated FEMA 1% annual chance flood zones.
- Florida has the highest number of policies in the US of any state. Of the 1.7 million Policies in Force in the state, 60% are for properties within the SFHA. It is of significance that about 40% of those Policies in Force, are for properties located outside the FEMA SFHA, indicating an inclination of unregulated property owners to also buy flood insurance given their knowledge of flood risk outside the extents depicted on FEMA’s flood maps. There is about 8% policy penetration in areas outside the SFHA which is still only about half the rate seen in areas impacted by Harvey in Texas.
Syndeste is an Insurance Technology startup specializing in delivering high resolution data and analytics on natural hazard risks to enterprises through its platform Beyond Floods. Syndeste has evaluated historic trends in areas affected by Irma, and the level of insurance carried by property owners as focus shifts into recovery and rebuilding. Syndeste will continue to monitor Irma and its impacts and deliver meaningful insights to help individuals and enterprises build resilience after this unprecedented event.