Weather Watch

Calculating the costs of natural disasters and extreme weather events is a complex process that takes a myriad of factors into account, including insurance payouts, lost income, property damage, and lives lost. In most cases, the cost of damage caused by these events far exceeds insured losses. Read on to find out some of the most surprising and significant facts about weather and insurance in the United States and around the world.

Hurricanes:

  • Hurricane Katrina is the costliest hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic, causing approximately $148 billion in damage, Katrina’s impact is rivaled only by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which cost a mere $71 billion by comparison.
  • Hurricane Betsy, which brought widespread damage to areas of Florida and the central United States Golf Coast in 1965, was the first hurricane to cause over $1 billion in damage.
  • Despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina is the second-costliest hurricane on record, at its peak, it was only a category three storm. (Most of the damaging hurricanes are category four or five.)
  • Out of the 10 most expensive storms in U.S. history, seven occurred in 2004 and 2005.
  • The Great Hurricane of 1780 is the deadliest hurricane ever recorded. Also known as the 1780 disaster, the storm claimed over 20,000 lives.
  • Hurricanes and tropical storms account for the majority of catastrophes in the U.S.

Earthquakes:

  • Earthquakes have been recorded in 39 states since 1900; there has not been a major earthquake, however since the 1994 Northridge quake in California.
  • The New Madrid Earthquake of 1811, which originated in Mississippi, caused church bells to ring in Boston, nearly 1,000 miles away.
  • Earthquakes are most likely to occur in California, but most Californians do not have earthquake insurance.
  • The most expensive natural disaster in history is the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011, which cost an estimated $235 billion and claimed nearly 14,000 lives.
  • Standard property insurance does not cover “shake damage” caused by earthquakes.

Did you know?

  • When a named storm causes significant damage, its name is retired by the World Meteorological Organization, which means it cannot be used for at least 10 years. Not only does this horror those who were impacted by the storm; it also prevents confusion in the aftermath when legal proceedings or insurance claims may still be in progress.
  • In the insurance industry, a “catastrophe” refers to any natural disaster that results in at least $25 million in insured damage.
  • If you are hosting an event, you can purchase insurance for rain, temperature, snow or wind to cover lost profits or damages incurred as the result of inclement weather.
  • Lightning strikes the earth approximately 30 million times a year.
  • The states in which sinkholes are most likely to occur are Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Some states offer optional sinkhole coverage for an additional premium.

If you think your home or business may be likely to be affected by a certain type of natural disaster, call or contact Consolidated to assess your risk – and be sure you are covered.