South Carolina's economic losses from the historic and deadly flooding will easily top $1 billion, experts say, but the looming issue for the state and federal government is that most of it will be uninsured.
More than 2 feet of rain fell in some spots, prompting descriptions of a "1,000-year flood" — not because it historically happens that infrequently, but because the odds of it are so small that statistically it should only happen once a millennium.
The problem is that almost all the damage can be clearly attributed to flood waters, in a state with nearly 2.2 million housing units and fewer than 200,000 flood insurance policies.
"[G]iven the enormity of the event and the scope of damage incurred to residential and commercial exposures, vehicles and infrastructure, it is expected that overall economic damage will easily exceed $1 billion," reinsurance broker Aon Benfield said in a report, while cautioning that it was too soon to make more specific loss forecasts.
But the brokerage also offered an ominous warning: "Based on current active National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies in place, it is expected that most of the residential damage will not be covered by insurance."