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With Up to 20 Named Storms Predicted, Millions at Storm Surge Risk

The NOAA predicts 13 to 20 named storms this hurricane season, while CoreLogic estimates $1.1 trillion in property at risk from storm surge.

It's getting hot and humid on the East Coast, which means that hurricane season is drawing near. And, it could be an active one: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), says that it expects 13 to 20 named storms, with seven to 11 of those reaching hurricane strength.

Insurers are imploring their policyholders to be vigilant in their hurricane preparation, following last year's Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, the effects of which paralyzed the heavy populations from southern New Jersey to southern New England, including New York City and Long Island.

"The 2012 hurricane season, and especially Superstorm Sandy, serve as an urgent reminder about the importance of being prepared," said Jim Whittle, American Insurance Association associate general counsel and chief claims counsel, in a statement reacting to the NOAA prediction. "Policyholders should not only prepare their home, but also make sure that they have the right insurance coverage."

CoreLogic, a California-based property information services provider, says that 4.2 million homes are at risk of damaging storm surge -- a total exposure of $1.1 trillion. This represents an increase in their estimates from last year, and reflects new understanding of the scope of flood risk per FEMA as well as the effect of rising seas.

[Why Sandy was the "worst possible" category 1 storm for the New York area]

"One recurring question in storm-surge analysis is whether or not climate change is affecting the development of hurricanes and causing an increase in the frequency or intensity of these events," said Dr. Howard Botts, VP and director of database development for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions, in a statement. "Though the CoreLogic Storm Surge Report is not designed to address that specific question, we do consider a potential rise in sea level as a crucial contributing factor to the full extent of coastal storm-surge risk and have expanded the analysis to include projected increases in risk associated with a hypothetical one-foot, two-foot and three-foot rise. The geographic location and characteristics of an urban area along the coast will naturally contribute greatly to the level of risk resulting from a potential sea-level rise, as is the case in Miami with lower elevation and close proximity to ocean water."

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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