We've talked about how climate change is impacting the risk of flooding, particularly with coastal properties. Currently, more than 300,000 homes are at risk of flooding more than 26 times in one calendar year. As our climate continues to change, we can expect the rising sea levels to impact significantly more properties.
Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? When conducting an insurance inspection this month, be sure to make insureds aware of how they can prepare for disasters or emergencies in their homes and commercial properties. We've talked about ways to prepare for hurricane season, but it's important to also discuss ways to mitigate risk associated with contamination, leaks, spills, and exposure to hazardous materials as it pertains to residential and commercial property.
Despite Mother Nature's unpredictable events, sophisticated catastrophic risk and weather verification models have made it possible for insurance carriers to take into account natural hazard risk in underwriting. Surprisingly, it has historically been more challenging for insurers to quantify the non-weather-related events when assessing the risk of a property.
Insurance carriers want to prevent claims from being filed just as much as homeowners want to prevent damage to their properties. Considering this, insurance carriers have a huge opportunity to add value to their clients by educating them about preventive maintenance and ways to reduce risk around the home. However, the relationship between insurance carriers and homeowners is all too often nonexistent, which results in more claims, less profitability, and heartache.
We recently discussed some of the emerging risks impacting today's insurance carriers, with one of these being the evolution of a sharing economy. The term "sharing economy" refers to peer-to-peer based sharing of access to goods and services, and the bulk of these transactions take place online via tools like Facebook Marketplace. However, one aspect of the sharing economy that has caught on like wildfire is the concept of home sharing.
It's no surprise that insurance carriers need to proceed with caution when underwriting a policy for an investment property, especially if the property will have times of vacancy. The risk goes up substantially if the property is vacant for an extended period of time, and it's imperative that underwriters take this into consideration.
While insurance is one of the oldest industries out there, it's notorious for lagging in digital maturity. Yes, property and casualty insurance has made great strides in recent years by starting to incorporate drones in the commercial inspection process and embracing smart technology to more accurately assess risk. However, despite these advancements, the insurance industry is aware that it's still not using technology to its fullest advantage.
Considering the digital economy that we live in today, cybercrime is the fastest growing threat to businesses around the globe. In response to concerns about data protection, the European Union established the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May of 2018 to lay out a framework of standards that businesses need to take to protect data for businesses and individuals.
There's a lot of buzz about smart home technology, and this trend has extended over to commercial properties as well. As a result, the Internet of Things (IoT) presents today's insurance carriers with a tremendous opportunity to deliver more value to commercial insureds and strengthen relationships. If insurance carriers aren't taking into account the data that they can gain from smart technology to assess risk and provide value, they will soon be operating with an antiquated business model.
There's a lot of buzz about climate change and how detrimental it will be if nothing is done to address it. However, a recent study put together by the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) sheds more light on what the impact of climate change will be on coastal properties in the coming years.