increasingly on the wrong side of high water markers. In the 2016 Louisiana storm there were almost 22,000 insurance claims but the vast majority of properties had no coverage. According to Gov. John Bel Edwards, the August storm flooded more than 100,000 homes and produced damage worth more than $8.7 billion. Beliefs About Global Warming A new survey from Gallup finds “a record number of Americans sounding the alarm on global warming.” According to Gallup:
“Katrina’s nature as a loss event comprising both wind and water damage exposed ambiguities in insurance policies, many of which led to claim disputes and litigation,” according to Marsh, a part of the Marsh & McLennan Companies, a major international insurance brokerage and risk management firm. “And while computer catastrophe models were in use at the time, they proved to be greatly out of line with actual losses, putting pressure on insurers. Katrina thus became a turning point for the insurance industry on many fronts, including: CAT (catastrophe) modeling, property policy wording, claims handling, and crisis management.” It’s well documented that more than 1,800 people died in several Gulf states because of Katrina while at the same time 80 percent of New Orleans was impacted. It’s also common knowledge that much of the city is below sea level. What’s not well-known is this: In 2016 the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) issued new flood maps for New Orleans.
“Overnight,” said National Public Radio (NPR), “more than half the population moved out of the so-called high-risk zone.” “The new maps are like a bureaucratic magic trick,” explained NPR. “At the stroke of midnight, the federal government waved its wand, and Friday morning more than half of New Orleans woke up in a land safe from storms and flooding.” Problems with government flood maps may soon come to an end. The 2018 budget calls on Congress to defund the NFIP’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program to save $190 million a year. Regardless of what FEMA says, much of New Orleans remains below sea level and private maps show the entire city faces substantial flood risks. However, by gerrymandering the official maps FEMA expanded the areas where flood insurance is not required. What do people
• “Concerned Believers’ at 50 percent, up from 37 percent in 2015.”
• “Mixed Middle’ falls to 31 percent, well below recent high of 45 percent.” • “Cool Skeptics’ remains smallest group at 19 percent, down from 26 percent in 2015.”
Not only are public attitudes changing, so are industry views.
ATTOM Data Solutions • P4
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