“Only Florida and Louisiana have counties that are more hurricane-prone than the ones found in North Carolina,” stated Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the I.I.I. and an economist. Moreover, New York ($2.37 trillion) is second only to Florida ($2.45 trillion) in the U.S. terms of the cumulative value of its insured coastal properties, according to figures compiled by AIR Worldwide in 2007, Dr. Hartwig added. “While the eye of Hurricane Earl is not expected to make landfall in the U.S., property/casualty insurers are extremely well capitalized and financially prepared for any losses that might occur,” Dr. Hartwig noted.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that between 1960 and 2008 the North Carolina county of Carteret saw a 104 percent increase in its population while over this same time period the number of people residing in North Carolina’s Dare County grew by an astounding 466 percent.
In terms of coastal exposure, North Carolina’s residential and commercial properties in hurricane-prone regions of that state were insured for nearly $133 billion as of 2007. The I.I.I.’s North Carolina Hurricane Insurance Fact File for 2010 offers additional details on the state’s leading property insurers.
“Virtually no part of the eastern and southern U.S. coastline is immune from the threat of severe storm systems,” said Dr. Hartwig. “While Atlantic hurricanes rarely make landfall along the East Coast, they have enormous financial repercussions for multiple states when they do,” he said. “Insurers have generally seen the cumulative value of their in-force property insurance policies along the U.S. coastline increase since 2004, despite the stagnant economy.”
Insurance Information Institute, 110 William Street, New York, NY 10038, (212) 346-5500