For nearly the last seven years Minnesota has experienced severe weather like never before.
As a result, Minnesota storm damage insurance claims have reportedly jumped from the millions to the billions. The latest numbers show that 2002 was the third most expensive in terms of storm damage for insurers. 60,000 homeowners storm claims were paid out, which added up to an estimated $237 million. [1998 ($1.5 billion) and 2001 ($323 million) claim the top spots.]
A number of Minnesota insurers utilized their catastrophe teams, which immediately assess damages and, in some cases, issue repair checks on the spot, at least 10 times in 2002 because of severe weather. Hail, sewer back ups / flood, wind, water and lightning were responsible for leaving their marks on Minnesota homes statewide.
Minnesota’s recent rash of severe weather reportedly has a direct connection as to why homeowners insurance premiums have been inching up.
“For five of the last seven years, Minnesota insurers have paid out more in storm claims than they’ve collected in premiums, putting tremendous pressure on prices,” said Al Parsons, president and CEO of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota. “The unpredictability of Mother Nature shows just how hard it is to foresee homeowner risk, that in itself can be frustrating for homeowners and insurers. We know the storms are coming, so waiting until the last minute to be prepared just doesn’t make good sense.”
There is some good news. In spite of 2002’s record-breaking numbers, claim damage growth is slowing down. According to the Department of Commerce, 2003 claim damage numbers, which are not yet official, appear to be shrinking.
Minnesota is about to enter a time that is traditionally riddled with severe weather. The numbers are reportedly proof positive that spring storms wreak havoc on homes. But there are steps to take that could help reduce a home’s damage and help keep residents safe.
For more information on these tips and other facts and figures regarding Minnesota’s Severe Weather Awareness Week (April 19-23), go to http://www.crh.noaa.gov/mpx/swaw.html .
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