Building codes vital piece of storm damage puzzle

I read “Emergency Center Upgrade Funded” with interest. After a storm, the power grid, building construction, and other conditions are on everyone’s mind. But the increased number and severity of “wind events” nationally should prompt a reexamination in every community.

Verisk Analytics conducted an analysis comparing our severe-storm computer models to millions of commercial buildings we survey for a building’s wind damageability. Our analysis shows roughly 38 percent of the total U.S. insured property value is in coastal counties. In New York, 62 percent of insured value is along the coast. In Florida, that number skyrockets to almost 80 percent – but it is by no means exclusively a coastal phenomenon. Eighteen of the top 20 catastrophic events in the U.S. involved wind. The remaining two that did not involve a wind peril were the Northridge earthquake and the attacks of 9/11. Compounding the problem is the storm trend. Of those 18 wind events, 15 occurred since 2000.

While fire continues to be the most common cause of property loss, it is evident that property owners, the construction industry, and municipalities responsible for local building codes need to become more proactive in addressing the threat of wind and storm events.

Mory Katz, vice president

Verisk Insurance Solutions Commercial Property

Jersey City, N.J.