Extreme weather events are occurring more frequently and in a wider variety of ways all while resulting in higher losses. In all, the United States suffered 97 of these events in 2021 where there were at least $25 million in insured property losses. Climate change is playing an outsized role in the rise of these catastrophic events in recent years. The average temperature in the United States last year as 55 degrees, making 2021the fourth-warmest year since record-keeping began 127 years ago. With no change to the current climate trends in site, this extreme weather and its severe impacts are forecasted to continue.
Economic losses caused by natural catastrophes are trending upwards. Each year across the world, natural catastrophes destroy assets running into multiple billions. The United States has sustained 323 weather and climate disasters since 1980 where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (including CPI adjustment to 2022). The total cost of these 323 events exceeds $2.195 trillion. Often, only a tiny proportion of this damage is insured.
More Americans find themselves living in parts of the country where they are at an increasing risk of suffering from a catastrophic weather-related event. According to Swiss Re, 40% of the U.S. population lives in a coastal county. Migration data reveals that, in 2021, the top states where people relocated were largely in catastrophe-prone areas: NC, SC, GA, FL, CA, TX, and CO. As a result, Swiss Re projects an increase in at-risk properties to jump from 33% to 41% by 2040. How can you financially protect yourself from the growing likelihood of an earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, flood or drought?
Howard Insurance has in-depth conversations with its clients about appropriate products and services to help prepare for, and recover, from a natural catastrophe.
Make Sure You Are Covered
Many homeowner and other property insurance policies have exclusions for extreme weather events and policyholders often do not realize these exclusions exist until its too late. Even private risk umbrella policies often exclude cover for property damage resulting from catastrophes likely to geographically occur. It may be that an add-on policy endorsement or a separate stand-alone policy is needed. In some disaster-prone areas, there are government-sponsored insurance programs; albeit they often offer minimal with insufficient benefits.
It is important to understand the coverages you need and the most cost-effective way to obtain them. Working with an experienced and well-established broker like Howard Insurance will provide you peace of mind from knowing a natural disaster will not be a disaster for your finances.
Prepare for the Worst
Taking steps to protect your home and other property in anticipation of a natural catastrophe can not only mitigate damage but also lower insurance premiums and even make coverage possible.
Tap into available Resources. Start by going to flash.org and entering your zip code to find the area’s disaster history. Even if you know you live in an area susceptible to earthquakes, you may be surprised to find that you are at risk for flooding or another disaster. Another site, disastersafety.org offers DIY and professional recommendations for tasks to help prepare a property.
Review your home or property checklist. Once you understand the potential risks to your property, create a list of questions and checklists that you can provide to an inspector. For example, if you are in a flood zone, is the home or property elevated above ground level? Is the foundation equipped with flood vents to mitigate damage?
Get a specialized inspection. Talk with the insurance experts at Howard Insurance to learn what they consider a risk, if your property is in a high-risk area and for assistance in arranging an inspector who specializes in peril.
After a Natural Disaster
When it is time to make repairs and renovations to property after a severe weather event or a natural disaster, Howard Insurance will work closely with you and your insurance company throughout the claims process. This close communication helps prevent additional risk exposure resulting from construction work in process and helps a policyholder in applying best practices for recovering from a specific disaster. In order to provide a high service level during a policyholder’s most vulnerable time, Howard Insurance has established long-standing relationships with major insurers.
Two of these relationships, Chubb and AIG, have post-disaster mitigation teams positioned all across the country. At no additional cost, specialists will spring into action following a catastrophe to quickly assess the condition of any damaged property and assist in the process of making the policyholder whole again. These mitigation experts will:
· Automatically conduct a property inspection
· Provide a comprehensive property condition report
· Assist in submitting any claims
· Expedite short-term repairs
In addition, if a policyholder needs a place to stay during repairs, these specialists will help find the right place based on the comfortable location, whether that’s ina premium hotel or a similar type of home in the neighborhood and children’s school district.
At Howard Insurance, responsiveness to our policyholders who have suffered a natural disaster is a top priority. You will not hear us say, “That’s good enough”. We will work arm-in-arm with our insurance company partners in looking for ways to do more. For over 75 years, Howard Insurance has helped each of our select clients secure their assets, their ambitions, their businesses and, ultimately, their legacies. Leaders in private insurance advisory and risk management, we pair deep expertise with sincere attention to our clients’ needs to create unique solutions that benefit them best.