August 10, 2009

Hurricane Ike Causes Ohio Auto Insurance Rates to Increase

For most of the U.S., fall is a welcome season, full of vibrant colors and cooler weather. However, in some parts of the world, this season brings hurricanes and destruction.

For Galveston Texas, 2008 was that kind of year. It was much more than just rain and thunder. Last September, residents were assaulted by Hurricane Ike. In fact, Ike was the third most destructive hurricane to invade land in the United States and the most intense of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season.

It started as a tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa in August 2008 and aggressively arrived in Texas as a Category 2 Hurricane on September 13, 2008. Southern Ohio (Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus) was recorded as the highest hit area.

Ike has been held responsible for 195 deaths and an estimated $24 billion in damages in the United States alone. Of those who died, 112 who were Americans (72 in Ohio); and 25 people are still reported missing.

But this fall, it is not just Hurricane Ike that the homeowners are bracing for; they will soon be hit with homeowners and auto insurance rates that will hike as much as 8.5 percent, according to the announcement by State Farm. Allstate claims that average rate hikes will be 5.5 percent with more increases along the coastal areas.

The Ohio Department of Insurance stated that while homeowners’ coverage rose 6.9 percent last year, the auto insurance industry followed suit with a .8 percent increase. Insurance analysts project that homeowners’ premiums and Ohio auto insurance rates will continue to rise throughout 2009.

Residents and victims of the destruction have no recourse but to use the policies they paid for to recover their losses, and now they have to pay for it with higher premiums. Insurers continue to argue that the rate hikes are determined with projections of future losses. What is the difference?

Sources estimate that the insurance payments from Hurricane Ike’s vicious blow will reach $9.8 billion. $553.1 million of those payments will be to cover the devastating damage in Ohio alone, stated a trade group.

It is agreed that the insurance industry must protect itself from risk. Storms, hurricanes, and other acts of God deplete the insurance industry’s capital and limit future financing of contracts. Many suspect that things could get worse, especially if a relative of Ike returns to strike for a second time. The residents and their insurers both need protection from the storms that bring winds, rain, policies, and claims.

Other areas that were hit by Hurricane Ike were Cuba, the Bahamas, and Haiti; a reported total of $32 billion in damages.