Homeowners’ insurance rates increase as a result of last year’s tornadoes

Joplin TornadoThe tornadoes that struck Joplin, Missouri, and other areas in 2011 will now be increasing the homeowners insurance rates as a whole, regardless of whether or not the area was influenced by any wind storms last year.

According to data from the Missouri Department of Insurance, the rates for homeowners insurance in that state will be increasing by just over 5 percent. At the same time, state insurance officials in Illinois – an area also impacted by storms last year – have yet to provide any estimates as to how much homeowners should expect to pay over last year for their insurance.

The insurance industry has nicknamed 2011 as “the year of the cat” in reference to the catastrophes that were seen not only in those states, but across the country and around the world.

New Year’s Eve 2010 brought a number of tornadoes through St. Louis, followed by more on April 22, 2011. April of last year also saw tornadoes ripping through many parts of the mid-South, and then had Joplin’s massive twister wiping out the area that May. When all was said and done, there were 1,900 people killed by tornadoes in 2011.

Tornadoes also brought about the fourth largest insurance disaster in history. The damages totaled an estimated $21.3 billion. This total was just shy of 9/11’s at $24 billion, or the $25 billion caused by 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. Hurricane Katrina caused $47.6 billion in 2005.

This year is also predicted to be a catastrophic one, with 270 tornadoes having already been reported by March 5. The 7-year average from the A.M. Best insurance rating firm was only 123 tornadoes for that time.

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