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Home » Survey: 1 in 5 Consumers Buy Less Coverage, Expect Gov’t Aid
July 16, 2013

Survey: 1 in 5 Consumers Buy Less Coverage, Expect Gov’t Aid

I’ve attached an interesting article by Victoria Goff which just appeared in IA Magazine. The article talks about how many people are buying less insurance coverage in hopes that the Federal Government will take care of them.  I personally don’t think it’s a good idea to count on someone else to “take care” of you or your property.  In most cases, the correct type and amount of insurance is available when you consult with an independent agent/broker.  For most people, their home is their single largest investement; why take chances in not being properly covered?

Survey: 1 in 5 Consumers Buy Less Coverage, Expect Gov’t Aid

Despite record disaster losses, some consumers still rely on government help instead of insurance.
Roughly one in five people say they purchase less insurance coverage because they expect government relief after a natural disaster, the latest Insurance Information Institute public opinion poll shows.

The finding on consumer attitudes toward catastrophe losses and insurance—based on a May survey of more than 1,000 Americans—comes on the heels of the third-costliest hurricane in U.S. history, Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the Northeast last October.

Citing the poll results during a Munich Re/I.I.I. catastrophe presentation this week, I.I.I. President Bob Hartwig said Sandy caused $18.8 billion in private insured losses and widespread flooding. The average National Flood Insurance Program claim payout was $51,996. Yet the storm’s destruction has convinced few homeowners to buy flood insurance.

Of I.I.I. poll respondents who had homeowners insurance but no flood policy, only 4% of those in the Northeast said Sandy and 2011’s Hurricane Irene—which also deluged the region—motivated them to buy flood coverage, Hartwig said. Nationwide, 3% of such consumers said the same.

So far this year, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes have dominated U.S. catastrophe losses, accounting for $6.3 billion of an estimated $7.9 billion in total U.S. insured losses, according to Munich Re data. They include two EF5 tornadoes that ripped through Oklahoma in May: One in Moore and another in El Reno, where the largest tornado diameter of more than 2 miles was observed—although it spared the downtown area of the city.

Drought also continues to persist in the western United States with dry conditions leading to wildfires, according to Munich Re. Insured losses for these disasters totaled $365 million for the first six months of 2013, and included the Black Forest fire in Colorado—the most damaging in state history—and the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona.

Overall, the $7.9 billion in U.S. catastrophe losses for early 2013 are lower than the 2000-12 first-half average of $13.8 billion, according to Munich Re.  But Hartwig cautioned there’s no guarantee for 2013 to be a quiet year. Pointing to Sandy, he noted that 2012 had been on track to finish with half as many U.S. disaster losses than 2011—until the late-season hurricane slammed the East Coast. “As they often say, ‘It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,’ and we can see severe events even quite late in the year,” he added.

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