M.P. McQueen did an interesting piece for the Wall Street Journal today entitled “As Hurricane Season Begins, Insurance Gets Harder to Find.” The lead lays the 2010 situation out bluntly:
From the Gulf oil spill and the floods in Arkansas and Oklahoma to the procession of hurricanes forecast for this year, the stage is set for major property damage in 2010.
And yet, fewer homeowners and specialty insurance polices are being sold, premiums are going up, and companies are reducing or dropping wind coverage as far north as Massachusetts. Some folks on the Atlantic seaboard are paying more than $3,000 a year for their homeowner’s policies.
As I talked about in my last post, polluted flooding from storm surges is a major concern from Louisiana all the way over to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Get out a map and look at that if you can’t envision what a massive stretch of coast that entails.
Then run up the east coast and consider how much damage can be caused there by hurricanes that get out of the Gulf and head north.
Not only are we looking at an environmental disaster and a potential deluge of property damage but the failure of the U.S. Congress to renew the National Flood Insurance Program is holding up 1,200 real estate closing a day according to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
So you see, it’s not just health insurance that is creating a bad reputation for the reformers on one hand and the insurance industry on the other. When people pay out thousands of dollars in premiums over the life of a policy and when they send politicians to represent them in the federal legislature, they’re expecting a bigger return on their investment in both cases.
If you’re in parts of the country most affected by potential storm, wind, and flooding damage, take a few minutes and read McQueen’s article. It’s a good breakdown of the situation and contains some good advice for alternate ways to protect your property in the event of disaster.