Insurance News

U.S. Ready For Tsunami Warning, But Insurance Lags

Posted on: January 4, 2010

Five years after a tsunami devastated Indonesia and the Southeast Asia Region many homeowners in the United States still remain without proper insurance coverage in the event of a natural catastrophe, the Insurance Information Institute notes.

The New York-base I.I.I. noted that five years after that tragic incident in Indonesia that claimed more than 225,000 lives, the United States has improved its tsunami detection system from six in 2004 to 39 today.

Also, U.S. communities the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recognizes as Tsunami Ready has grown from 11 five years ago to 72 today.

These communities have a 24 hour warning system and emergency operations center, as well as education programs. They hold emergency exercises as part of a total plan for dealing with a tsunami event.

Despite the history of tsunamis hitting the United States, hurricanes, floods and other natural catastrophe events, few homeowners are insured for these disasters.

I.I.I. once again notes that typical homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. Flood insurance must be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.

While the number of policies in-force stands at 5.65 million as of 2007, a 14 percent increase over 2005?s 4.96 million.

The I.I.I said it did a poll earlier this year and found that 13 percent of Americans have flood insurance, down from 17 percent in 2008.

Another catastrophe that claims homes, and is the cause of tsunamis, is earthquakes. These events are also not covered by homeowners insurance and few homeowners have insurance for this risk, I.I.I. noted.

In California, well known for its earthquake activity, coverage is available through the California Earthquake Authority (CEA), a privately funded, publicly managed organization, I.I.I. explained. Despite the risks, only 12 percent of the state?s homeowners have earthquake coverage, down from 30 percent more than a decade ago.

The CEA program, like other similar programs carriers a deductible, I.I.I. noted. The CEA deductible is of either 10 or 15 percent, the association said.

© Copyright 2010 National Underwriter Property & Casualty. A Summit Business Media publication. All Rights Reserved.

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