Hurricanes, flooding likely to cause $54B in damage annually: CBO

Hurricanes and other storm-related flooding are likely to cause $54 billion in economic damage annually, according to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
 
The projected economic losses would come primarily from $34 billion in damage to homes, followed by $12 billion in losses to the public sector and $9 billion to the private businesses, the CBO said in the report released Wednesday.
 
CBO recommended in its report that policymakers take steps to limit greenhouse gas emissions, saying increased levels of damage are likely because of climate change and development in high-risk areas.
 
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“Without policy changes, storm-related costs are likely to rise in the future because of climate change and increases in development in risky areas,” the CBO wrote in its report.
 
Most of the costs would still fall on individuals and insurance companies, according to the report.
 
When it comes to residential damage, the agency estimated that households would be stuck paying for 66 percent of flood-related damage and 22 percent of wind-related damage.
 
The government would be hit with $17 billion in damage each year, the CBO estimated.
 
Those costs would include $4 billion in federal assistance to households, $11 billion in spending on public sector losses, $1 billion in administrative costs and the $1.4 billion the government spends on federal flood insurance.
 
In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the CBO recommended expanding purchase requirements for flood insurance, putting more resources toward assessing flood risk, increasing the federal role in risk mitigation, and shifting more of the burden of post-disaster relief onto state and local governments.