Natural Disasters

Infographic: Hurricane Katrina 10 Years Later

Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29, 2005. It was to become the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, causing widespread wind and flood damage and taking 1,800 lives. Ten years later, are we as a nation any better prepared to meet such megadisasters; what might be the impact of another Katrina today?

Background on: Wildfires


Fire plays an important role in the life of a forest, clearing away dead wood and undergrowth to make way for younger trees but the risk wildfires pose to people and property is growing as more people move into forested areas once largely uninhabited. These areas, known as the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI), contain about 44 million houses in the lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Background on: Hurricane and windstorm deductibles

The Topic

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, insurers realized that losses from hurricanes could be much higher than they had previously thought. Hurricane Katrina, in 2005, which cost insurers more than $41 billion at the time, confirmed their fears. After these extraordinary losses, reinsurance companies, insurers that share the cost of claims with primary companies, such as homeowners insurers, said that they could not assume so much risk and that primary companies must reduce their potential losses.

Background on: Earthquake insurance and risk


The topic

An earthquake is a sudden and rapid shaking of the earth caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the earth’s surface. This shaking can sometimes trigger landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires and tsunamis. Unlike other natural disasters such as hurricanes, there are no specific seasons for earthquakes.

Background on: Climate change and insurance issues

The topic

There is now a consensus among the scientific community that the climate is changing, with potential risk to the global economy, ecology, and human health and well-being. But how much of this is due to natural phenomena and how much to the effects of human activity is a matter of debate. Also unknown is the extent to which weather patterns have already been affected. Any increase in damage and litigation over damage is likely to raise insurance company losses. What, then, are insurance companies doing to lessen the impact of global warming?

Facts + Statistics: Hurricanes

The official Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November, but occasionally storms form outside those months. September is the most common month for hurricanes making landfall in the U.S., followed by August and October, according to an analysis of 1851 to 2015 data by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. No hurricanes made U.S. landfall before June and after November during the period studied.

Facts + Statistics: Wildfires

Wildland fires

As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava. 

Facts + Statistics: Earthquakes and tsunamis


2017 Earthquakes: On September 19 a powerful 7.1 magnitude earthquake jolted Mexico City and neighboring states, killing at least 216 people and leaving many trapped under collapsed buildings. A little more than a week previously, Mexico was hit by a magnitude 8.1 earthquake centered off its southern coast that killed at least 90 people.

Facts + Statistics: Flood insurance

National Flood Insurance Program

Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. However, flood coverage is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurers.      


Facts + Statistics: Tornadoes and thunderstorms