As a Record Breaking Hurricane Season Comes to an End, Property and Causality Insurers Urge Consumers to Reduce their Risk
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - According to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), the 2008 Hurricane Season, that will be ending at the end of November, is one for the history books, ranking as it does as the fourth most costly on record.
With already having produced 16 named storms to date, the season is living up to its prediction of being another above average storm season. Altogether, eight hurricanes were counted. There were two Category 1 (Hanna, Kyle), there was one Category 2 (Dolly), also two Category 3 (Bertha, Omar), as well as three Category 4 (Gustav, Ike, Paloma). All of them combined produced in access of an estimated $11 billion in insured losses.
The last hurricane of the season was named Paloma. It hit landfall in Cuba on the 9th of November, making the 2008 season the only one in which major hurricanes have formed in five separate months. There was another distinction that occurred for the first time this season making this season the first season in which three Atlantic tropical storms in July (Bertha, Cristobal, and Dolly) were all active on the same day. To its misfortune Texas had the distinction of experiencing two significant storms this year. The two hurricanes, Ike and Dolly. Following its devastation of Texas, Hurricane Ike also made a significant impact as it caused damage across nine states, including Illinois and Pennsylvania.
According to the assistant vice president and regional manager for the southwest at PCI, Joe Woods, Hurricane Ike was the most powerful storm to make U.S. landfall since Katrina hit the country in 2005. Woods says that Ike was Texas’ most costly storm, and that it ranks fifth in its affects among all hurricanes in the United States with an estimated $8.1 billion in insured losses. This time however, the insurance industry was completely prepared, having immediately deployed thousands of adjusters. Even before the electricity and water were restored, they had the claims process up and running in many areas. This time Woods reports that there was better coordination and the coordinated response involving state and federal agencies was much more effective. He says that the industry recognizes and is committed to fulfilling its major role when it comes to helping families and communities recover from such devastating occurrences.
Tropical Storm Fay which hit the U.S. in August, was yet another significant storm this season. Although it was slow moving, Fay produced a tremendous amount of rain. In some Florida towns it reached as much as two feet, causing damaging floods. On the first of September, Hurricane Gustav arrived in Louisiana, ranking as a Category 2 storm. While it did weaken after making landfall, hurricane-force winds could still be felt in Baton Rouge. In addition, to disrupting lives in the Gulf, it also delayed the start of the Republic National Convention. As it made landfall through North and South Carolina, Tropical Storm Hanna caused many along the East Coast to take notice. Serving as a reminder that tropical storms can impact coastal states as far north as Massachusetts and Maine, Hanna traveled north along the coast.