A Firm Foundation: How Insurance Supports the Economy

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 “Supporting resiliency and disaster recovery" 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 10 States By Insured Catastrophe Losses, 2019 (1)

($ millions)

Rank State Estimated insured loss Number of claims
1 Texas $7,236.4 583,050
2 Illinois 1,707.2 168,100
3 Colorado 1,366.9 127,450
4 Ohio 1,345.1 106,950
5 California 1,321.7 71,450
6 Minnesota 1,202.3 115,350
7 Pennsylvania 1,107.5 149,150
8 Nebraska 864.1 71,950
9 Oklahoma 597.8 57,100
10 Montana 593.5 36,300

(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: The Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® company.

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Top Five States By Number Of Major Hail Events, 2019 (1)

 

Rank State Number of hail events
1 Texas 872
2 Kansas 538
3 Nebraska 430
4 South Dakota 302
5 Colorado 294
  United States   5,392

(1) Hailstones one inch in diameter or larger.

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

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Top 10 Costliest Hurricanes In The United States (1)

($ millions)

        Estimated insured loss
Rank Date Location Hurricane Dollars when occurred In 2019 dollars (2)
1 Aug. 25-30, 2005 AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, TN Hurricane Katrina $41,100 $52,828
2 Sep. 19-22, 2017 PR, USVI Hurrican Maria (3) 25,000-30,000 26,100-31,300
3 Sep. 6-12, 2017 AL, FL, GA, NC, PR, SC, UV Hurricane Irma (3) 25,000-30,000 26,100-31,300
4 Aug. 25-Sep. 1, 2017 AL, LA, MS, NC, TN, TX Hurricane Harvey (3) 18,000-20,000 18,800-20,800
5 Oct. 28-31, 2012 CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH,
NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT, WV
Hurricane Sandy 18,750 21,065
6 Aug. 24-26, 1992 FL, LA Hurricane Andrew 15,500 25,867
7 Sep. 12-14, 2008 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, OH, PA, TX Hurricane Ike 12,500 20,861
8 Oct. 10-12, 2018 AL, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA Hurricane Michael (3) 9,000-12,000 9,200-12,200
9 Oct. 24, 2005 FL Hurricane Wilma 10,300 13,239
10 Aug. 13-14, 2004 FL, NC, SC Hurricane Charley 7,475 9,906

(1) Property losses only. Excludes flood damage covered by the federally administered National Flood Insurance Program. Ranked on dollars when occurred. As of April 17,2020.
(2) Adjusted for inflation through 2019 by the Insurance Information Institute using the GDP implicit price deflator.
(3) Insurance Information Institute estimate based on data from catastrophe risk modelers, reinsurance companies, the Property Claims Services unit of Verisk Analytics, the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. These estimates are preliminary because the organizations involved periodically resurvey the events, and the severity of losses and other factors create a high level of uncertainty surrounding the ultimate loss figures.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, catastrophe risk modelers, reinsurance companies, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the Property Claim Services® (PCS®) unit of ISO®, a Verisk Analytics® company, and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

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Storm Surge Risk By State By Number Of Single-Family Homes and Reconstruction Value, 2020 (1)

 

    Number of single-family homes at risk by storm category (2)
Rank State Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
1 Florida 353,994 1,088,511 1,806,312 2,362,323 2,851,642
2 Louisiana 72,883 212,707 640,307 770,030 843,349
3 Texas 41,398 122,453 264,103 399,741 563,024
4 New Jersey 95,473 277,147 381,388 471,323 471,323 (3)
5 New York 76,805 228,069 351,937 467,787 467,787 (3)
6 Virginia 23,232 89,347 243,707 366,117 410,277
7 South Carolina 37,107 132,728 219,420 308,387 363,875
8 North Carolina 33,254 97,694 165,266 216,446 267,802
9 Georgia 9,378 54,470 113,068 152,882 164,504
10 Massachusetts 8,102 42,832 97,083 151,979 151,979 (3)
11 Maryland 16,091 59,214 98,757 126,589 126,589 (3)
12 Mississippi 5,740 25,385 56,768 90,023 102,596
13 Pennsylvania 847 21,378 58,921 85,794 85,794 (3)
14 Connecticut 6,708 27,921 46,186 67,433 67,433 (3)
15 Delaware 10,855 31,057 49,103 67,055 67,055 (3)
16 Alabama 5,203 15,841 27,769 40,287 51,929
17 Rhode Island 1,396 7,979 17,345 26,336 26,336 (3)
18 Maine 5,657 7,912 11,969 18,149 18,149 (3)
19 New Hampshire 193 4,069 7,074 9,336 9.336 (3)
  Total homes
potentially affected
804,316 2,546,714 4,656,483 6,198,017 7,110,779
    Reconstruction cost value of single-family homes at risk (2), (4) ($ millions)
Rank State Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4 Category 5
1 Florida $71,707.9 $224,088.9 $372,234.3 $483,618.4 $580,606.2
2 Louisiana 15,887.7 47,717.2 152,745.6 184,008.0 202,330.0
3 New York 30,410.9 95,248.1 146,867.2 196,107.2 196,107.2 (3)
4 New Jersey 27,523.2 84,974.9 119,707.6 150,599.6 150,599.5 (3)
5 Texas 7,467.3 22,579.6 51,408.9 81,181.5 113,419.1
6 Virginia 5,962.5 22,598.0 57,844.1 86,624.2 98,314.8
7 South Carolina 10,447.7 35,063.9 55,589.2 75,121.4 86,468.7
8 North Carolina 7,178.2 21,277.7 36,350.3 47,968.2 59,542.6
9 Massachusetts 2,306.8 12,658.0 29,179.0 47,309.5 47,309.5 (3)
10 Georgia 2,869.0 14,504.6 26,994.0 35,215.7 37,416.2
11 Maryland 3,878.3 14,151.3 23,657.9 30,518.8 30,518.8 (3)
12 Connecticut 2,344.5 9,635.7 15,669.6 22,538.4 22,538.4 (3)
13 Pennsylvania 193.8 5,120.6 14,596.0 21,349.8 21,349.8 (3)
14 Mississippi 1,175.2 5,247.4 11,573.3 18,024.1 20,467.4
15 Delaware 3,082.8 8,693.8 13,892.8 18,943.9 18,943.9 (3)
16 Alabama 965.3 2,972.1 5,112.2 7,360.8 9,449.8
17 Rhode Island 350.2 2,339.3 5,080.9 7,761.3 7,761.3 (3)
18 Maine 1,314.9 1,892.6 2,949.9 4,589.9 4,589.8 (3)
19 New Hampshire 35.2 713.9 1,434.1 2,038.9 2,038.9 (3)
  Total homes
potentially affected
$195,101.5 $631,477.6 $1,142,886.9 $1,520,879.6 $1,709,772.1

(1) The risk categories are cumulative and increase in value from Category 1 to Category 5. Category 1 represents the higher risk of damage from a weak hurricane; Category 5 includes Categories 1 to 4 and the low risk of damage from a Category 5 hurricane.
(2) Measured in units.
(3) Storm surge risk for Category 5 storms for homes on the northeastern Atlantic Coast is not shown due to the extremely low probability of a Category 5 storm affecting these areas.
(4) Represents the cost to completely rebuild including labor and materials by geographic location.

Source: CoreLogic®, a property data and analytics company.

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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, 2019 (1)

 

State Tornadoes Fatalities Rank (2) State Tornadoes Fatalities Rank (2)
Alabama 95 25 7 Montana 6 0 32
Alaska 0 0 (3) Nebraska 44 0 14
Arizona 10 0 30 Nevada 1 0 41
Arkansas 31 0 19 New Hampshire 0 0 (3)
California 16 0 27 New Jersey 9 0 31
Colorado 53 0 12 New Mexico 21 0 25
Connecticut 1 0 41 New York 4 0 36
Delaware 1 0 41 North Carolina 59 0 9
D.C. 0 0 (3) North Dakota 14 0 29
Florida 25 0 22 Ohio 59 1 9
Georgia 60 0 8 Oklahoma 99 0 4
Hawaii 0 0 (3) Oregon 4 4 36
Idaho 5 0 35 Pennsylvania 34 0 17
Illinois 37 0 16 Rhode Island 1 0 41
Indiana 39 0 15 South Carolina 18 0 26
Iowa 53 1 12 South Dakota 23 0 24
Kansas 127 0 3 Tennessee 16 0 27
Kentucky 28 0 21 Texas 188 2 1
Louisiana 97 3 6 Utah 0 0 (3)
Maine 1 0 41 Vermont 1 0 41
Maryland 6 0 32 Virginia 24 0 23
Massachusetts 3 0 38 Washington 2 0 40
Michigan 6 0 32 West Virginia 3 0 38
Minnesota 54 0 11 Wisconsin 32 0 18
Mississippi 138 2 2 Wyoming 30 0 20
Missouri 98 3 5 United States (4) 1,676 41  

(1) Ranked by total number of tornadoes.
(2) States with the same number of tornadoes receive the same ranking.
(3) State had no tornadoes in 2019.
(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, 2019

 

State Number of fires Number of acres burned
Alabama 1,107 22,158
Alaska 720 2,498,159
Arizona 1,869 384,942
Arkansas 660 8,602
California 8,194 259,148
Colorado 857 40,392
Connecticut 88 72
Delaware 0 0
District of Columbia 0 0
Florida 2,121 122,500
Georgia 3,158 12,407
Hawaii 155 10,710
Idaho 960 284,026
Illinois 2 41
Indiana 38 523
Iowa 153 2,020
Kansas 19 21,167
Kentucky 755 11,714
Louisiana 361 3,059
Maine 355 142
Maryland 140 1,498
Massachusetts 289 248
Michigan 361 1,128
Minnesota 1,021 5,862
Mississippi 959 5,473
Missouri 67 5,091
Montana 1,474 64,835
Nebraska 15 9,478
Nevada 562 82,282
New Hampshire 16 25
New Jersey 727 11,346
New Mexico 859 79,887
New York 79 221
North Carolina 3,872 14,548
North Dakota 488 4,454
Ohio 498 1,038
Oklahoma 1,104 67,142
Oregon 2,293 79,732
Pennsylvania 547 691
Puerto Rico 97 2,906
Rhode Island 45 33
South Carolina 992 5,939
South Dakota 346 2,261
Tennessee 571 5,478
Texas 6,892 215,493
Utah 1,025 92,380
Vermont 19 22
Virginia 364 2,643
Washington 1,394 169,742
West Virginia 593 7,653
Wisconsin 710 1,198
Wyoming 486 41,857
United States (1) 50,477 4,664,366

(1) Includes Puerto Rico.

Source: National Interagency Fire Center.

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Top 10 States For Wildfires Ranked By Number Of Fires And By Number Of Acres Burned, 2019

 

Rank State Number of fires Rank State Number of acres burned
1 California 8,194 1 Alaska 2,498,159
2 Texas 6,892 2 Arizona 384,942
3 North Carolina 3,872 3 Idaho 284,026
4 Georgia 3,158 4 California 259,148
5 Oregon 2,293 5 Texas 215,493
6 Florida 2,121 6 Washington 169,742
7 Arizona 1,869 7 Florida 122,500
8 Montana 1,474 8 Utah 92,380
9 Washington 1,394 9 Nevada 82,282
10 Alabama 1,107 10 New Mexico 79,887

Source: National Interagency Fire Center.

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