Following that tremendous natural disaster, policies have looked different in a number of ways.
The last few days have marked the tenth anniversary of the time when New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, in the biggest disaster that the insurance industry had ever seen in the history of the United States.
A decade ago, the levees were breached and the city’s protective flood walls caved, flooding 80 percent of the city.
A year following the disaster, the population of New Orleans was half what it had been before the flooding. The insurance industry is now marking this anniversary by looking back over the progress that has been made and the changes that have occurred to policies that resulted from the catastrophe. The city, itself, has come a very long way. It looks different, it is more expensive, and its population is made up of a different ethnic mix.
The insurance industry has observed a notable difference in the atmosphere of the newly rebuilt city.
There has been considerable debate in New Orleans over the trend toward a new cosmopolitan environment, which appears to be taking over the city as the old residents step out and the new trends step in. The problem isn’t that the city isn’t beautiful, which it is. It’s that this trend may be threatening the culture and traditions of the place that made it genuinely unique in the world.
President Obama spoke about the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last Thursday, showing that the official response to this catastrophe was “an example of what happens when government fails.”
The Marsh insurance brokerage and risk management group issued a report in August that underscored the changes that occurred in insurance policies as a result of storms such as Katrina, Ike, and Sandy. These disasters altered the way the industry looks at property coverage, analytics, claims, and crisis management.
These changes came following hard lessons learned by the insurance industry. Insurers have greatly altered their response to this type of disaster including everything from the policies themselves, to the way that claims are processed and customers are supported. As the most expensive single insured loss event in history, Katrina’s $41 billion in covered property damage and $100 billion in economic damage, this anniversary represents an important reminder of why the changes were made.