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Protecting and Managing Coastal Properties

What are considered high-risk coastal properties? These are locations that are most susceptible to catastrophes and natural hazards. When left uninsured, they could pose huge amount of expenses to owners and renters as well, should a calamity strikes.

Image Source: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach

According to the May 2016 report “Residual Market Property Plans” by the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), the exposure value of the residual property market in states that are more exposed to hurricanes has continued to decline from its peak levels in 2011. State natural catastrophe programs in various states including Alabama, California, Florida, North and South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Texas were reviewed in the report. There is a supposed perceived threat for state finances, policyholders, and taxpayers that might result from underpriced coverage and increased assessments in the coming years.

What does this mean for coastal property owners?

As the report warns, there may be a reduction in growth opportunities for carriers and choice if you are a policyholder or a possible distortion in the true cost of insurance coverage.

The Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) implements rules allowing property owners to protect imminently threatened oceanfront structures on a temporary basis. The following options are available for property owners:

  • Do note that a Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) general permit is needed to use sandbags.
  • Beach bulldozing to shore up the foundation of a building
  • Relocation of structures
  • Beach nourishment projects that are dependent on specific conditions
  • Exceptional cases where seawalls are permitted, provided that they do not adversely impact adjacent private properties and resources

Managing a coastal property may unnecessarily consume an owner’s time and money. To avoid huge expenses and damages to property, it is important to work with an insurer that has an excellent reputation for providing yearly insurance coverage. Whitehaven’s commendable record of writing high-risk coastal properties since 1994 proves the company’s ability to help you in the effective management of your property from unforeseen calamities.

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

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How to Protect Your Property From Coastal Erosion

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Image source: SBS

One of the biggest risks coastal properties face is coastal erosion, which results in the shoreline moving toward the land as cliffs are pulled back or as beach and dune systems change locations. When this occurs, roads, residential and commercial buildings, and other coastal infrastructures run the risk of being damaged or in worst cases, even destroyed.

While coastal erosion is a natural process, the fact remains that it poses a threat and may result to economic losses. In the US, coastal erosion contributes to around $500 million yearly in coastal property loss. The US Climate Resilience Toolkit outlines some of the most popular non-structural methods for controlling erosion. The reason why states are shifting toward non-structural alternatives is because structural solutions may affect natural water currents and may deter beach replenishment in the process.

The non-structural strategies mentioned include:

  • Beach replenishment – dredging of sand from offshore and dumping it on the beach so the latter is protected
  • Dune protection and improvement – will absorb the impact of storm surge and high waves, thus delaying or forestalling the flooding of inland areas
  • Wetland protection: A study that appeared in the “Journal of Environmental Economics and Management” tried to place a value on wetlands for their part in reducing wind damage to property resulting from diminished storm intensities.
  • Habitat restoration – protects and depending on the condition, restores the ecosystems and habitats in the environment
  • Structure relocation and debris removal: There may be cases that would require the relocation of your property. This is especially true for houses that are built on minimum required setbacks, since these do not provide enough protection from damage and loss because of erosion. Note that permits are required for this solution.
  • Use of dredged material for beach nourishment: They can be replaced into beach zones to improve or create new beaches and recreational spaces. Beach nourishment is quite popular along the ocean costs since good quality beach sand is usually hard to find.
  • Sandbags – for temporary protection while the owners are seeking for more permanent solutions

Having a better understanding of coastal erosion is the key in protecting your property from the damages inflicted by such. Talk to an expert and find out if your structure faces imminent threats so you can act fast before the soil even begins to erode.