Not counting the recent wildfires in Southern California, the U.S. experienced 15 weather-related that cost insurance $1 billion or more. The National Centers for Environmental Information says that is one short of 2011’s number of 16.
These are hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires. Some of the more recent in fires California could end up counting as weather-related if they top $1 billion because they are wind-fueled. Most notable were hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the Northern California wildfires.
The hurricanes did $210 billion in damages in the U.S. and through the Caribbean. Of those damages $100 billion are insured.
Hail hit Colorado and Minnesota.
We also can’t forget the flooding that damaged the Oroville dam in California. It threatened to destroy thousands of homes.
The big question being asked by many — insurance included — is how much of this damage is being caused by global warming. The hurricanes dumped record amounts of water.
Mark Bove is a senior research scientist with Munich Reinsurance America. He said global warming is hugely responsible for California’s wildfires. After six years of drought near record rains and snows woke up grasses and brush which fueled the killer fires in Napa and Sonoma counties in October and the fires of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties of December.
“Prolonged drought and warming temperatures in California are not just extending the state’s wildfire season, they are increasing the evaporation rate of water. This means that extreme wildfire conditions will return to California after a rain event more quickly today than in the past,” he said.
Source links: Insurance Journal, PropertyCasualty360.com