By Anita Byer, Setnor Byer Insurance & Risk
Did you know that the U.S. experienced 308 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events since 1980? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the total cost of these events exceeds $2 trillion. Since 1980, the U.S. averaged 7.1 billion-dollar events per year. In 2020, there were 22 billion-dollar events, the most in any single year…for now. You see, 2021 is already #2 on the list, and there’s still time left on the clock.
During the first nine months of 2021, we’ve already seen 18 billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events, including drought, flooding, severe storms, tropical cyclones, wildfire and winter storms. NOAA created the following map to show the approximate location of each event.
According to NOAA, these events resulted in the deaths of 538 people and had significant economic impact on affected areas. Unfortunately, billion-dollar events are happening more often than before. Over the past five years, the U.S. averaged more than twice as many billion-dollar weather and climate disaster events per year (16.2) than we averaged per year over the past forty years (7.1). This is also the seventh consecutive year with 10 or more billion-dollar events. These events are costlier too. The total cost over the last five years is nearly one-third of the cost total over the past 42 years—the highest 5-year cost average on record.
This disturbing trend underscores the need for adequate insurance coverage to protect against the financial losses caused by weather and climate disaster events. Property insurance has become an absolute necessity for homes and businesses nationwide. These policies do not cover flooding, so every home and business needs flood insurance too, regardless of whether the property is located in a flood zone. Why? There’s no such thing as a No-Flood-Zone!