Preventive Upgrades to Properties Increased Nearly 25 Percent in 2018, BuildFax Hurricane Recovery Report Reveals

Hurricane-related insured losses have skyrocketed over the past two years. Heading into 2019’s hurricane season, carriers face the challenging task of responding swiftly to claims, while also controlling loss creep, mitigating fraud, and managing property risk and exposure. It’s a tall order, but the right advanced data services can support these initiatives. Carriers who leverage key hurricane recovery insights can elevate the efficiency of their underwriting and claims functions. The first installment of the BuildFax Natural Disaster report analyzed the recovery period following severe hurricanes over the past two years in the U.S. and their impacts on insurance carriers and their customers.

Hurricane Recovery Shines Light on the True Window for Large-Scope Repair Work

The average recovery following a hurricane is 10.7 months, according to our analysis of construction data following the 11 biggest hurricanes between 2000 and 2018. This is shorter than the recovery following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Harvey timelines, but a few months longer than projected timelines for Florence and Michael. Although the rebuilding period after a hurricane can be nebulous, with more insight into expected recovery timelines, carriers are empowered to be proactive with customers. They can also flag properties in affected regions that haven’t experienced substantial maintenance work performed in a timely manner.

Repair Activity is Increasingly Variable as the Nature of Storms Change

No two hurricanes are the same – a combination of differences in the affected environment and the nature of the storm lead to variability in repairs.

BuildFax findings confirmed:

  • Roof repairs made up 55.43 percent of maintenance work following Irma in Florida.
  • 57 percent of repairs following North Carolina’s Hurricane Florence were to secondary structures, including accessory dwelling units.
  • Flooding was the most common repair after Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

See full analysis here.

Hurricane Preparedness Activity is Increasing in Recent Years

Hurricane preparedness construction, which can include roof clips, impact-resistant windows, flood retrofitting, storm shutters and more, understandably increased in 2017 and 2018. Florida accounted for 87.08 percent of all storm shutter installations across the U.S. last year. Based on year-over-year estimates, however, North Carolina saw the largest uptick in storm shutter construction at 212.86 percent. Insight into preparedness activity gives insurers a good idea of which properties have a higher likelihood of withstanding future events and which may be riskier heading into the next hurricane season.

For more insights into trends in recent hurricane recovery patterns and how insurers can mitigate their risk, download the U.S. Hurricane Natural Disaster Report