TigerRisk Studies Stalling Hurricanes

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2017 and 2018 saw back-to-back hurricanes that stalled once crossing the coast. Instead of slamming into shore, barreling inland and then losing strength, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018, came ashore and then stalled, dumping huge amounts of rainfall over the coastal plains. Is this the new normal?

Insurers are concerned about a catastrophic weather phenomenon that has already cost them billions. That it happened two years in a row is especially concerning. Is this the new normal? Or, is it natural? TigerRisk found out.

2017 and 2018 saw back-to-back hurricanes that stalled once crossing the coast. Instead of slamming into shore, barreling inland and then losing strength, Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricane Florence in 2018, came ashore and then stalled, dumping huge amounts of rainfall over the coastal plains.

This unexpected and unrelenting rainfall resulted in flooding that caused billions in damage to structures and crops. Next to Katrina (2005), Harvey was the second costliest hurricane in US history, resulting in losses of $125 billion of which $19 billion were insured. The following year, Florence, which stalled over North Carolina, caused overall losses of $45 billion of which only $4.6 bill were insured.

Insurers and local inhabitants are justifiably concerned about stalling hurricanes. Storms that stall year-after-year have lead to increasing worries. Is this a trend that will repeat in coming years?

According to research by TigerRisk, a reinsurance broker, advisor and catastrophe analytics firm, stalling storms are not new. The company’s analytics team conducted an extensive review of weather data as far back as 1851 and published a white paper on their findings.

“Our research identified 37 tropical storms that had stalled once they had come ashore,” said Anna Neely, Research and Development Analyst at TigerRisk. “Only in six cases did they occur back-to-back in consecutive years.”

After studying literally thousands of storms over that period, TigerRisk determined that the frequency of stalled storms has remained relatively constant. However, TigerRisk warns that more research is warranted on what causes storms to stall and the unique way in which these storms cause damage.

Moreover, even if storms continue to stall at the normal rate, the increasing dollar amount of damage caused points to the inadequacy of flood control and insufficient flood insurance.

To download a copy of TigerRisk’s paper: “Stalling Hurricanes Wreck Havoc” click here. https://tigerrisk.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/TC-Stalling-Report-2019.pdf

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Ansi Vallens
S&S
+1 (518) 392 4238
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Kerry Nash
TigrRisk
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