2017 – A Record Setting Year

by Zelle LLP
Contact

Zelle  LLP

2017 was a year of records for sure.  Most notably, professional eater Joey Chestnut set a new record by eating 55 glazed doughnuts in eight minutes.[1] At a university in Ohio, 972 people set a record by dressing as penguins.[2]  And, Ayanna Williams of Texas set a record thanks to her fingernails reaching a combined total length of 18 feet, 10.9 inches.[3] Unfortunately, the U.S. also set a record in 2017 with a total of $306 billion in damage resulting from several natural disasters. In fact, the 2017 season was the first time that three Category 4 hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, and Maria — made landfall in the United States and its territories in a one-year period.
 
Other extreme weather events contributed to making 2017 the most expensive year on record for natural disasters. In all, there were 16 natural disasters, each causing more than $1 billion worth of damage. Three of those natural disasters were hurricanes.  In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey[4] was responsible for approximately $180 billion in damage and was the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting widespread flooding in the Houston metropolitan area. This historic rainfall caused massive flooding that displaced over 30,000 people and damaged or destroyed over 200,000 homes and businesses. In September 2017, Hurricane Irma brought numerous impacts to the Florida Keys and parts of Georgia and Alabama, including significant property damage, widespread downed trees, and power outages causing damages approximating $50 billion.[5] Also in September 2017, Hurricane Maria[6] was responsible for at least another $100 billion in damage and was the worst hurricane in Puerto Rico’s history.  Hurricane Maria wiped out most of Puerto Rico’s transportation and communication systems as well as the electrical grid. It also destroyed numerous buildings and homes. Each of these destructive superstorms now joins Katrina and Sandy in the new top 5 costliest U.S. disaster events on record.[7]
 
In addition to the hurricanes, the autumn wildfires in California contributed another $18 billion in damage and destroyed over 15,000 homes, businesses and other structures. Not to be outdone, Mid-West hailstorms in March, May, and June caused over $8 billion in damage. Oh, and don’t forget about the string of tornadoes that caused damage in excess of $3 billion.
 
NOAA / Via ncdc.noaa.gov                               

Although devastating weather is natural, many scientists say climate change exacerbated the damage.[8]  According to NOAA, the United States experienced its third-warmest year on record in 2017.[9] Assuming this trend continues, home and business owners, as well as insurers, can probably expect similar weather patterns in 2018, making extreme weather events the “new normal.” Insurers will also likely have to factor these “new normal” weather patterns into their computer models when assessing risks going forward.
 
Not surprisingly, 2017 also saw a record high of personal and commercial lines claims as a result of these natural disasters.[10]  Assessing the extent of the damage from the 2017 disasters will take time.  But given the catastrophic nature of the claims and likelihood of a “total loss,” insurers can expect to encounter various coverage issues pertaining to valuation, increased cost of construction and code upgrades, business interruption, and the theoretical period of indemnity associated with rebuilding the damaged property.  The recent series of wildfires could also raise issues concerning the number of occurrences and deductibles as well as ingress and egress.  Whether these insurance claims also result in a record high number of lawsuits disputing these coverage issues will play out in the coming months.  Perhaps, a new record for the most lawsuits filed in any given year will be set in 2018.

[1] http://kubiss.me/news/world-records-broke-in-2017-top-10-facts-about-new-milestones-met-this-year/
[2] Id.
[3] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guinness-world-records-2018_us_59b0582ee4b0dfaafcf51b1e
[4] https://www.thebalance.com/hurricane-harvey-facts-damage-costs-4150087
[5] https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events.pdf
[6]https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/hurricane-maria-damages-102-billion-surpassed-only-katrina; https://www.thebalance.com/hurricane-damage-economic-costs-4150369
[7] https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/2017-us-billion-dollar-weather-and-climate-disasters-historic-year
[8] https://www.climateliabilitynews.org/2017/10/12/climate-change-disasters-hurricane-wildfires-drought/
[9] According to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the temperature average was 2.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. 
[10] https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2018/01/04/476093.htm

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Zelle LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Zelle  LLP
Contact
more
less

Zelle LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.