With hurricane season beginning June 1, Texans may be able to hold on to the hope that the odds are stacked for them. If historical experience for the past two decades holds true, Texas won’t see a hurricane hit its coast this year, according to a report from the Insurance Council of Texas.
Call it odd, but hurricanes have struck Texas only on odd-numbered years for the past two decades. It was Hurricane Humberto in 2007, Hurricane Rita in 2005, Hurricane Claudette in 2003, the costliest tropical storm on record in Texas – Tropical Storm Allison in 2001, Hurricane Bret in 1999 and Hurricanes Chantal and Jerry in 1989. You would have to go back to 1986 for an even-numbered year to find Hurricane Bonnie. Ever since the National Hurricane Center began naming hurricanes in 1953, only three of the 16 hurricanes to hit Texas appeared on even-numbered years.
The only hurricane to strike the United States last year hit Texas. Hurricane Humberto with its 85 mile per hour winds caused minimal damage for a hurricane. While hurricane forecasters say we are in for another slightly above average year, odds are that Texas may miss the storms this year.
Mark Hanna with the Insurance Council of Texas (ICT) said the odd-numbered year scenario could come as close to predicting hurricanes as hurricane forecasting experts have recently.
“Hurricane forecasters have predicted a slightly above average number of hurricanes for the past four years,” Hanna said. “It would be hard to tell residents of Florida they had a slightly above average year in 2004 after experiencing 4 hurricanes. In 2005, the Atlantic experienced the highest recorded number of storms on record. In 2006, we had no hurricanes strike the U.S. And in 2007, we had only one hurricane – Hurricane Humberto come ashore.”
Hanna said Texans living along the coast should always be prepared for a hurricane especially for the next six months. Being prepared includes having a video, photographic or written inventory of all of personal belongings. Consumers can turn to ICT’s Web site for a free, easy to use home inventory file to record their possessions at http://www.insurancecouncil.org/images/inventory.pdf. Or consumers can download an interactive electronic version provided by the Insurance Information Institute at www.knowyourstuff.org. ICT also recommends coastal residents have in place an evacuation plan for the entire family.
“The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently revealed a national survey showing nearly half – 48 percent – of consumers have no inventory of their possessions,” Hanna said. “After any type of weather catastrophe, consumers are in a state of shock and without an inventory, it’s very difficult to tell an insurance adjuster what you had, much less what you lost.”
The survey also revealed that 43 percent of consumers have a replacement policy, 27 percent have a less expensive actual cash value policy and 28 percent don’t know what type of coverage they have.
The Galveston/Brazoria County area remains the state’s most vulnerable coastal region when it comes to the exposure of insured property. Residential and commercial property insured by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association in the Galveston/Brazoria County area alone adds up to nearly $30 billion. Texas insurance companies have nearly $200 billion worth of exposure in nearby Houston and Harris County.
There is a generation of Texans living along the coast who have never experienced a hurricane. The last hurricane to strike Corpus Christi occurred back in 1970 with Hurricane Celia. The last hurricane to affect the Lower Rio Grande Valley was back in 1980 with Hurricane Allen. For a map of all named hurricanes in Texas and the path of these storms, turn to the Insurance Council of Texas Web site at http://www.insurancecouncil.org/insurancefacts.asp.
Source: Insurance Council of Texas, www.insurancecouncil.org.
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