7.4 Wind versus Water in Hurricanes: Observing and Modeling Multiple Concurrent Perils

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:15 PM
Room 12B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Mark D. Powell, Risk Management Solutions, Tallahassee, FL

With the advancing threat of Sea Level Rise much of the U. S. is in danger of falling into the “protection gap”. Residential property flood risk is not yet covered by the insurance market. Many coastal properties are not paying into the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at premiums commensurate with the risk. This is exasperated by the program being deep in debt, despite only covering a fraction of the potential loss, while windstorm insurance covers up to replacement value. This results in a battle that benefits nobody.

We’ve seen this already following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Hurricane Ike in 2008, with thousands of litigation claims and a cottage industry of scientists serving as expert witnesses on both sides of the aisle.

Congress responded in 2012 with the Coastal Act, which provided an “unfunded mandate” directing NOAA to provide wind and water level data to FEMA for input to their “Coastal Formula” for attributing loss to wind and water. The results of the formula would then limit the amount paid by the NFIP by subtracting out the wind loss portion.

The Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) went further by assembling a panel of experts to recommend guidelines for how the state should respond to future hurricane impacting properties on the Texas coast. The expert panel report was released in April of 2016, and TWIA is currently developing a comprehensive operational solution to collect wind and water level measurements, and to conduct observation based modeling of wind and water impacts.

My presentation will discuss some of the challenges to wind and water hazard monitoring and modeling.

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