The potential for Gulf Coast housing damage from Hurricane Laura could total more than $88 billion, according to a new forecast from CoreLogic.
Laura is heading in the path of 431,810 homes in Texas and Louisiana, and CoreLogic estimates a reconstruction cost value of approximately $88.63 billion resulting from the storm surge if the hurricane arrives on land in its projected Category 3 status. The Houston metropolitan area is at the greatest risk for damage, with more than 126,000 residential properties in the hurricane’s projected path, followed by Texas’ Beaumont-Port Arthur area with more than 77,000 residential properties at risk and Lafayette, Louisiana, with more than 66,000 residential properties at risk.
“The coincidence of two catastrophes—a damaging hurricane season and the ongoing global pandemic—underscores the importance of the correct valuation of reconstruction cost, one of the core tenets of property insurance,” said Tom Larsen, Principal for Insurance Solutions at CoreLogic. “Homeowners, mortgage lenders and insurers need to work together to ensure properties are fully protected and insured. CoreLogic data has found a correlation in mortgage delinquencies and catastrophes, which could point to a serious issue of underinsurance trends.”
Laura is the fourth hurricane of the historically busy 2020 season. As of 11 a.m., Laura was a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph sustained winds and was moving through the Gulf in a west-northwest path at 16 mph, roughly 620 miles southeast of Galveston. Laura has already swept across the Caribbean island of Hispaniola that is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti, causing the deaths of at least 11 people and creating floods and power disruptions in both countries.
Weather forecasters feared that another potential hurricane, Marco, was going to cross paths with Laura. However, that storm deteriorated into a tropical depression on Monday and briefly swept across land near the mouth of the Mississippi River.