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California flooding insured losses pegged at $500 million to $1.5 billion

Posted On: Jan. 25, 2023 10:01 AM CST

Calif. flood

Insured losses from the recent California flooding are estimated to be between $500 million and $1.5 billion, with total U.S. economic losses estimated at $5 billion to $7 billion, Moody’s RMS said Wednesday.

The estimated loss reflects inland flood impacts for the U.S. and includes damage to infrastructure, the Newark, California-based catastrophe modeler said in a statement.

The overall economic loss estimate reflects property damage, contents and business interruption, across residential, commercial, industrial, automobile and infrastructure assets, the statement said.

Infrastructure damage is said to be extensive with state highways and local roads seeing the brunt of the damage due to a combination of flooding and mudslides.

Moody’s RMS noted that only a relatively small proportion of the economic damage is expected to be covered by insurance because fewer than 2% of households in California have flood insurance.

California saw heavy rainfall, overtopped rivers, flash floods, levee breaches, mudslides, fallen trees, debris flow and heavy snow at high altitudes, together with some wind damage, beginning Dec. 26 with a series of extratropical cyclones, Moody’s RMS said.

Extreme rainfall intensity in California led to three-week rainfall records in several locations in central California, and certain locations received their annual average rainfall totals in less than one month.