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Hurricane Irene adds to long list of 2011 weather disasters p. 3

We are continuing our discussion of weather disasters in the U.S. As we have said in past posts, Florida's homeowners insurance market is sensitive not only to disasters in this state but also to national and international disasters. Though the state escaped Hurricane Irene last week, it will take some time to know if the estimated $2.6 billion in damage will affect local premiums.

This year is on track to break all records for insured damages in the U.S. So far, 2011 has seen floods, drought, blizzards, tornadoes and now a hurricane.

Floods. Melting snow and heavy rains pushed the Missouri and Souris rivers over their banks this summer. Seven states experienced flooding; so far, losses total about $2 billion.

The Mississippi's major tributaries were flooded, so the river responded in kind. Two people died in these floods, and losses could be as high as $4 billion.

Drought. While families in the Upper Midwest watched their houses float downriver, the people in the Southern Plains and Southwest states got no rain but had more than the usual number of wildfires. More than $5 billion in losses.

Tornadoes. April and May saw almost unprecedented tornado activity. The first outbreak hit Midwest and Southern states -- about 46 tornadoes cost nine people's lives and in excess of $1.6 billion in insured losses.

A few days later, nine states saw an estimated 59 tornadoes cause insured losses of more than $1.5 billion. The good news? No deaths were reported in connection with the storm.

That wasn't the end of it, though. We'll finish up the list in our next post.

Sources:

USA Today, "In 2011, record-tying nine $1B weather disasters," Dan Vergano, Aug. 18, 2011

Bloomberg.com, "Irene's Estimated U.S. Insurer Cost Drops to $2.6 Billion; Hartford Climbs," Noah Buhayar, Aug. 29, 2011

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