Catastrophes By State

The insurance industry plays a vital role in helping individuals and businesses prepare for and recover from the potentially devastating effects of a disaster such as a catastrophic hurricane or storm or wildfire. Information on catastrophes, including earthquakes, terrorism, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes is provided in the “Defraying the Costs of Disasters section of the Firm Foundation (see chapter navigation on the left). In addition, the section below provides state catastrophe rankings, followed by information on the following types of disasters:

  • Hailstorms
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Wildfires

State Catastrophe Rankings

ISO defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property/casualty policyholders and insurers. The estimates in the following charts represent anticipated insured losses from catastrophes on an industrywide basis, reflecting the total net insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, vehicles, boats, related-property items, business interruption and additional living expenses. They exclude loss-adjustment expenses.

 

TOP FIVE STATES BY INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 2014 (1)

($ millions)

Rank State Estimated insured loss
1 Texas $2,177.2
2 Colorado 1,702.1
3 Illinois 1,218.9
4 Pennsylvania 1,186.4
5 Nebraska 1,127.8

(1) Includes catastrophes causing insured property losses of at least $25 million in 1997 dollars and affecting a significant number of policyholders and insurers. Excludes losses covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

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TOP FIVE STATES FOR MAJOR HAIL EVENTS, 2014 (1)

Rank State Number of hail events
1 Nebraska 624
2 Texas 557
3 Kansas 534
4 Iowa 290
5 Missouri 266
  United States 5,536

(1) One inch in diameter or larger.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service.

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TOP TEN MOST COSTLY HURRICANES IN THE UNITED STATES (1)

($ millions)

        Estimated insured loss (2)
Rank Date Location Hurricane Dollars when
occurred
In 2014
dollars (3)
1 Aug. 25-30, 2005 AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN Hurricane Katrina $41,100 $48,383
2 Aug. 24-26, 1992 FL, LA Hurricane Andrew 15,500 23,785
3 Oct. 28-31, 2012 CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ,
NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
Hurricane Sandy 18,750 19,307
4 Sep. 12-14, 2008 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX Hurricane Ike 12,500 13,639
5 Oct. 24, 2005 FL Hurricane Wilma 10,300 12,125
6 Aug. 13-14, 2004 FL, NC, SC Hurricane Charley 7,475 9,083
7 Sep. 15-21, 2004 AL, DE, FL, GA, LA, MD, MS, NC, NJ,
NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
Hurricane Ivan 7,110 8,639
8 Sep. 17-22, 1989 GA, NC, PR, SC, UV, VA Hurricane Hugo 4,195 7,055
9 Sep. 20-26, 2005 AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, TN, TX Hurricane Rita 5,627 6,624
10 Sep. 3-9, 2004 FL, GA, NC, NY, SC Hurricane Frances 4,595 5,583

(1) Includes hurricanes occurring through 2014.
(2) Property coverage only. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program.
(3) Adjusted for inflation through 2014 by ISO using the GDP implicit price deflator.

Source: Property Claim Services (PCS), a Verisk Analytics business.

 

  

ESTIMATED VALUE OF INSURED COASTAL PROPERTIES VULNERABLE TO HURRICANES BY STATE, 2012 (1)

($ billions)

Rank State Coastal Total exposure (2) Coastal as a
percent of total
1 New York  $2,923.1 $4,724.2 62%
2 Florida  2,862.3 3,640.1 79
3 Texas  1,175.3 4,580.7 26
4 Massachusetts  849.6 1,561.4 54
5 New Jersey  713.9 2,129.9 34
6 Connecticut  567.8 879.1 65
7 Louisiana  293.5 823.0 36
8 South Carolina  239.3 843.6 28
9 Virginia  182.3 1,761.7 10
10 Maine  164.6 285.5 58
11 North Carolina  163.5 1,795.1 9
12 Alabama  118.2 917.8 13
13 Georgia  106.7 1,932.2 6
14 Delaware  81.9 208.9 39
15 New Hampshire  64.0 278.7 23
16 Mississippi  60.6 468.5 13
17 Rhode Island  58.3 207.5 28
18 Maryland  17.3 1,293.4 1
  All states above  $10,642.2 $28,331.4 38%
  Total U.S.  $10,642.2 $64,624.3 16%

(1) Includes residential and commercial properties, as of December 31, 2012. Ranked by value of insured coastal property.
(2) Total exposure is an estimate of the actual total value of all property in the state that is insured or can be insured, including the full replacement value of structures and their contents, additional living expenses and the time value of business interruption coverage.

Source: AIR Worldwide.

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  • The insured value of properties in coastal areas in the United States totaled $10.6 trillion in 2012, according to AIR Worldwide.

 

While individual hurricanes and earthquakes tend to produce higher losses, tornadoes account for a major share of catastrophe losses because of their frequency.

 

TORNADOES AND RELATED DEATHS BY STATE, 2014 (1)

State Tornadoes Fatalities Rank (2) State Tornadoes Fatalities Rank (2)
Alabama 65 2 3 Montana 8 0 31
Alaska 0 0 (3) Nebraska 87 2 2
Arizona 2 0 38 Nevada 6 0 33
Arkansas 24 17 16 New Hampshire 0 0 (3)
California 11 0 28 New Jersey 0 0 (3)
Colorado 54 0 7 New Mexico 17 0 22
Connecticut 1 0 41 New York 10 4 29
Delaware 1 0 42 North Carolina 35 1 10
D.C. 0 0 (3) North Dakota 18 0 21
Florida 29 0 14 Ohio 21 0 19
Georgia 35 0 10 Oklahoma 13 1 26
Hawaii 0 0 (3) Oregon 0 0 (3)
Idaho 3 0 37 Pennsylvania 10 0 29
Illinois 35 0 10 Rhode Island 0 0 (3)
Indiana 23 0 17 South Carolina 7 0 32
Iowa 63 2 4 South Dakota 37 0 9
Kansas 48 0 8 Tennessee 23 2 17
Kentucky 33 0 13 Texas 63 0 4
Louisiana 16 0 24 Utah 0 0 (3)
Maine 2 0 38 Vermont 0 0 (3)
Maryland 2 0 38 Virginia 12 0 27
Massachusetts 5 0 35 Washington 4 0 36
Michigan 17 0 22 West Virginia 6 0 33
Minnesota 28 0 15 Wisconsin 20 0 20
Mississippi 91 16 1 Wyoming 16 0 24
Missouri 56 0 6 United States 1,057 47  

(1) Ranked by total number of tornadoes.
(2) States with the same number receive the same ranking.
(3) State had no tornadoes in 2014.
(4) The U.S. total will not match data used in other charts because it counts tornadoes that cross state lines.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Storm Prediction Center, National Weather Service.

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WILDFIRES BY STATE, 2014

State Number of fires Number of acres burned
Alabama 2,093 40,527
Alaska 384 233,561
Arizona 1,543 205,199
Arkansas 1,302 20,164
California 7,865 555,044
Colorado 830 24,949
Connecticut 28 69
Delaware (1) (1)
Florida 2,436 101,599
Georgia 3,562 19,199
Hawaii (1) (1)
Idaho 1,180 189,430
Illinois 36 727
Indiana 54 276
Iowa 577 11,347
Kansas 68 31,261
Kentucky 1,466 43,199
Louisiana 1,005 25,337
Maine 282 158
Maryland 125 1,802
Massachusetts 1,169 1,197
Michigan 268 716
Minnesota 990 4,367
Mississippi 97 10,053
Missouri 105 5,607
Montana 1,646 38,118
Nebraska 38 992
Nevada 531 59,252
New Hampshire 62 45
New Jersey 962 10,400
New Mexico 728 23,440
New York 94 582
North Carolina 4,625 15,601
North Dakota 567 4,069
Ohio 63 684
Oklahoma 1,007 157,080
Oregon 3,087 984,629
Pennsylvania 877 4,519
Rhode Island 1 0
South Carolina 1,374 8,312
South Dakota 918 13,127
Tennessee 1,249 156,391
Texas 9,677 131,138
Utah 1,035 28,255
Vermont 53 91
Virginia 736 10,446
Washington 1,480 386,972
West Virginia 671 8,286
Wisconsin 613 3,268
Wyoming 403 7,836
United States (2) 63,612 3,595,613

(1) Delaware and Hawaii had no wildfires in 2014.
(2) Includes Puerto Rico which had 3,647 fires that burned 16,292 acres.

Source: National Interagency Fire Center.

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TOP TEN STATES FOR WILDFIRES RANKED BY NUMBER OF FIRES AND BY NUMBER OF ACRES BURNED, 2014

Rank State Number of fires Rank State Number of acres burned
1 Texas 9,677 1 Oregon 984,629
2 California 7,865 2 California 555,044
3 North Carolina 4,625 3 Washington 386,972
4 Georgia 3,562 4 Alaska 233,561
5 Oregon 3,087 5 Arizona 205,199
6 Florida 2,436 6 Idaho 189,430
7 Alabama 2,093 7 Oklahoma 157,080
8 Montana 1,646 8 Tennessee 156,391
9 Arizona 1,543 9 Texas 131,138
10 Washington 1,480 10 Florida 101,599

Source: National Interagency Fire Center.

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