TALLAHASSEE, Fla- The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season comes to a close today with no major storms striking the coast. While it was a quiet year, policymakers and insurers continue efforts across the nation to improve the insurance marketplace and protect families, homes, and businesses, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
Hurricane Season Overview
The 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season started on June 1st. Of the 11 named storms this year, there were four hurricanes. While only two hurricanes were considered major, all of these storms brought intense rains, causing significant flooding in South Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma. The season started early with Tropical Storm Ana, bringing rains and winds to South Carolina in early May.
One month later, we saw another major rainmaker in Tropical Storm Bill, which impacted Texas and Oklahoma and resulted in approximately $58 million in insured losses according to Verisk Analytics. Similar to the 2014 season, Hawaii was again impacted by several storms. Though none of the formed hurricanes made landfall, they did bring significant rainfall to the islands.
In October we saw more rains hit South Carolina causing record record-breaking flooding, which started off as a system that moved over the state followed by moisture from Hurricane Joaquin. According to Aon Benfield Group Ltd., the October rains resulted in $350 million in insured losses so far and an additional $100 million in insured losses through the National Flood Insurance Program and U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency.
“While we are thankful that 2015 was a below-average hurricane season, there are many communities throughout the country that are still facing the aftermath of major flooding,” said Chris Hackett, PCI’s director of personal lines policy. “It is important to remember that even tropical storms can cause widespread damage and flooding, having a crushing effect on families if they don’t have the right insurance coverage. While some forecasters point to El Nino as the cause for a quiet hurricane season, it could likewise bring more rain in the west and southeast, causing more flooding in areas that are still in the recovery process.”
As the hurricane season draws to an end, policyholders are encouraged to review their insurance coverage. The standard homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, additional coverage must be purchased to be fully protected. A few inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage, proof that it’s never too late to protect your property by purchasing flood insurance. Flood insurance is available through the national flood insurance program (NFIP): http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/ or call 800-427-4661.
PCI 5 Simple Steps to Prepare Now
1.) Review and assess your insurance policy
2.) Develop your emergency and evacuation plan
3.) Practice your plan with your family
4.) Prepare your home
5.) Create a home inventory
PCI has a wide range of resources available at www.pciaa.net to help homeowners and businesses prepare for severe weather and the 2016 hurricane season. Follow us on Twitter @PCIAA and use #HaveAPlan to keep the conversation going.
Public Policy in 2016: Protecting Consumers and Improving the Insurance Marketplace
The close of hurricane season also marks the beginning of legislative sessions in many states. Policymakers and insurers are continuing efforts to improve the insurance marketplace for consumers, while protecting families, homes and businesses. State-run property insurance reform, stronger building codes and anti-fraud measures will be leading issues again in 2016.
“Insurers will be working with policymakers to reduce the size of state-run property insurance plans in Florida, Louisiana and Texas,” said Hackett. “Consumers benefit from a competitive, private insurance marketplace. Without any major catastrophe this hurricane season, we are on the right track to seeing these state-run insurers return to their purpose of being the insurers of last resort.”
“Strong building codes also are key for protecting families, homes, and businesses,” said Hackett. “We urge Alabama lawmakers to make statewide building code legislation a priority in 2016.”
“Insurance fraud continues to drive consumer costs,” said Hackett. “PCI supports state legislation to safeguard policyholders and stop fraudsters in their tracks. We look forward to working with Florida lawmakers to tackle fraud and abuse related to the assignment of benefits, which has been driving up insurance premiums at an alarming rate.”