It’s Your Money: Hurricane damage costs South Carolina millions during last 6 months

Updated: Feb. 11, 2020 at 7:06 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund (IRF) paid more than $6 million dollars for hurricane damage across the state just in the last six months.

The payments went to more than 30 agencies in the state ranging from school districts to correctional institutes to airports.

The IRF paid another $850,000 for agencies to reimburse contractors who assessed the damage.

A majority of the claims came from Hurricane Florence in September 2018, but the Horry County Department of Airports just received $525,000 for losses during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

WMBF analyzed the claims filled in the 2020 fiscal year so the complete damage cost to agencies and from a single hurricane is likely much higher.

Around 1,000 state agencies and governments across the state pay annual premiums to the IRF each year for property and liability coverage.

“We want to keep our systems fully operational at all times. A lot of the functions of government are important public safety functions and so for that reason whether it’s a normal sunny day or following a disaster event, we want to be ready to respond in the event that we need to so we do pay for insurance and that covers things like county facilities. It also covers equipment and vehicles,” said Horry County spokesperson Kelly Moore.

Moore said annual premiums cost Horry County around $2.5 million. This amount is funded by the county’s General Fund, which is paid up from county taxes.

Clamentine Elmore, the executive director of the Housing Authority of Florence, said paying for the insurance is important.

“We only receive federal funds and those federal funds do not cover damages so it’s very important that we have insurance to cover those types of damages when we have disasters in the area so we are extremely happy that we have insurance to cover those types of disasters,” Elmore said.

The Housing Authority of Florence received nearly $200,000 in paid losses to cover repairs from Hurricane Florence. Elmore said many of the housing units had missing shingles and siding and some minor damages to roofs.

  • Pawleys Island: Hurricane Florence caused flood damage to two of the town’s buildings. This fiscal year the IRF paid the town $27,000 for its losses.
  • Coastal Carolina University: The IRF paid the university $227,000 in paid losses this fiscal year. The damage was caused by Hurricane Florence but CCU did not intermediately provide details on what was damaged.
  • Francis Marion University: The university received around $92,000 for roof damages at two of its buildings after Hurricane Florence .
  • Horry County: IRF reported paying the county around $1 million for damages from Hurricane Florence. The county provided data that show nearly 50 buildings were damaged in the hurricane.
  • Horry County Airports: Three airports in the county just received half a million dollars for damages sustained during Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
  • Horry County School District: The IRF paid the district close to $1.5 million for damage multiple schools experienced during Hurricane Florence. A spokesperson said most of the damage was to to fencing, outdoor signage, outdoor lighting, playgrounds and roofs.

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