Recovery following Florence is different from past storms

Posted on Jan 30 2019
Type Blog

It’s in the best interest of North Carolina carriers to closely monitor Hurricane Florence recovery. Florence, which made landfall in September 2018, confirmed a recent trend in hurricane activity –a hurricane’s category no longer tells the whole story.

In the days before Hurricane Florence reached North Carolina, it was downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a Category 2. However, the storm left Category 5 damage in its path, dropping record-breaking rainfall in Wilmington, N.C. This was a result of Florence’s slow movement, which led to storm surge that impacted inland areas as well as the coast. Such mischaracterization of storms has led to heightened discussions around how forecasts categorize hurricanes.

Carriers that leverage advanced data services to monitor the progress of Florence’s recovery will have an easier time tracking which properties on their book have been made whole. A BuildFax analysis of one carrier’s book following Hurricane Irma found 50 percent of properties with claims paid out had zero permitted activity in the 10 months following the hurricane, an indication that these properties have increased risk of future cat-related damage.

Over the past few months, as a majority of states across the U.S. saw declines in maintenance and remodeling activity, North Carolina demonstrated steady increases in construction on existing structures. Between September and December 2018, remodeling activity, which encompasses work performed on existing structures that does not include new construction activity, in North Carolina jumped 22.5 percent. This increase was likely a result of increased repair work following the hurricane.

Typically, the month following a hurricane experiences a lull in remodeling activity during a cleanup period. In the three to four months following, rebuilding reaches its peak volume. It follows that hurricane recovery in North Carolina will see a continued rise in activity for the next few months. During this time, it’s particularly important that carriers monitor changes made to a property ensuring that the structure is not only made whole, but also that additional changes don’t give way to premium leakage.

For more on Hurricane Florence recovery efforts, check out BuildFax CEO Holly Tachovsky’s latest article in Insurance Journal, 3 Reasons Recovery from Hurricane Florence is Different from Hurricane Michael. The article delves further into the complexities of Florence including:

  • Why there are many parallels between Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Harvey, a Houston storm that impacted Texas in September 2017.
  • How Hurricane Florence differs from Florida’s Hurricane Michael, which made landfall around the same time as Florence, but caused a different type of damage.
  • What role building codes play in hurricane recovery.

Have your own predictions around Hurricane Florence recovery? Join the conversation and stay up-to-date on the latest trends in hurricane recovery by following BuildFax on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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