12 July 2019Insurance

TigerRisk researches future trend for more hurricanes stalling over land

As tropical Storm Barry moves towards New Orleans, weather forecasters are predicting that it could become a hurricane and then stall over land, meaning that rain, not wind, will be the main peril.

TigerRisk Partners, reinsurance broker, catastrophe analyst and strategic advisor to the re/insurance sector, said insurers are concerned about this weather phenomenon as it has happened in two consecutive years, costing them billions in claims.

In 2017 and 2018 respectively Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Florence came ashore and then stalled, dumping huge amounts of rainfall over the coastal plains rather than hitting the shore then heading inland where they would usually lose strength.

The advisor said: “This unexpected and unrelenting rainfall resulted in flooding that caused billions in damage to structures and crops. Next to Katrina (in 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.”

TigerRisk said that insurers and residents in areas vulnerable to stalling hurricanes are “justifiably concerned” and as a result the advisor has conducted research into the trend using weather data going back to 1851.

It found that stalling storms are not a new phenomenon. “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 thousands of storms over that period, TigerRisk found that the frequency of stalled storms has remained relatively constant. However, it warned that more research is needed looking at what causes storms to stall and the unique way in which these storms cause damage.

Researchers said that 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”.

The results of the research have been published in a white paper.

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More on this story

27 June 2019   Reinsurance broking and risk/capital management firm TigerRisk Partners has hired JLT Re's Neill Cotton and Mark Sleet as partners to lead the company's binding authority and programme businesses.
15 July 2019   Flooding hit Louisiana and parts of Mississippi on Sunday 14 July after Hurricane Barry came ashore on Saturday 13 July bringing intense rain.
17 July 2019   Insured losses from storm system Barry, which was briefly a hurricane, will be close to $300 million, according to Karen Clark & Company (KCC).