More than 362,612 properties are now at risk of flooding in Washington — a 198 percent increase over previous estimates and the 8th largest increase of all the states in the nation, according to an analysis from the online insurance marketplace QuoteWizard.
“The increase in the number of at-risk properties is directly related to climate change. Many of the maps FEMA currently uses to assess flood risk are five, 10 or 15 years old and no longer take into account the realities of our changing climate,” said Nick VinZant, senior research analyst and insurance expert at QuoteWizard.
Washington ranks third in the nation when looking at the total number of additional “at-risk” properties with over 240,000 since the last estimate. Analysts found that the number of flood-prone properties nationwide is actually 67 percent higher than previously estimated. That adds up to 5,866,497 additional properties that are at risk of flooding, according to their data.
The massive increase in the number of flood-prone properties is even more pronounced when looked at state by state. QuoteWizard analysts found 23 states with a 100 percent or more increase in the number of at-risk properties.
“It’s hard to overstate how big of a change this could be. We are talking about millions of more flood-prone properties and changes to flood insurance regulations that could lead to people paying several times more for flood insurance than they currently do now,” VinZant said.
Between 1996 and 2016, the National Flood Insurance Program paid out over $42 billion in claims. States like Washington recorded over $160 million in flood losses paid, while states like New York, Louisiana, Texas, New Jersey, Mississippi and Florida respectively recorded billions of dollars in losses each.
QuoteWizard said their data for the analysis was sourced exclusively through government agencies. The rate and loss data came from FEMA, and the demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau.