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Weather-Related Property Damage Broke Record in 2018

Mother Nature hit housing harder than usual last year. Hurricanes, wildfires and hail led to a 17% increase in catastrophic insurance claim damages, a study finds.

NEW YORK – Last year set a record for weather-related losses to property, according to the LexisNexis’ Home Trends Report. More than half of all catastrophic claims in 2018 centered in four states: California, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.

Hurricanes, wildfires and hail prompted a 17% increase in the severity of catastrophic claims among insurers last year, the study shows. Some of the biggest weather-related events that shaped 2018 included hurricanes Florence and Michael, as well as several California wildfires.

Catastrophe claims comprised more than 30% of all peril claims in 2018.

“In the context of increased volatility and severity of weather-related events, this year’s report provides key insight into alarming by-peril trends,” says George Hosfield, senior director of home insurance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “It is extremely important for home insurers to stay informed of the challenges outlined in this report, especially the volatile and dynamic nature of weather-related loss trends in recent years.”

Fire losses have continued to rise since 2012. Fire losses accounted for nearly 40% of catastrophe claims in 2018, the highest level in a decade.

Last year also marked the worst year on record for wind severity, up 15%. The increase was blamed on hurricane devastation in North Carolina and Florida. September 2018 proved to be 17 times costlier than a typical September in North Carolina due to Hurricane Florence.

Hail also caused plenty of damage in 2018. Colorado had the highest costs in losses due to hail, but Texas continued to have the highest number of hail claims (29% of its total claim volume).

Source: “LexisNexis Home Trends Report,” LexisNexis (October 2019)

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