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Annual Home Insurance Study Highlights Expensive Year for Catastrophic Claims and Insurance Impacts of 2017 Extreme Weather Events

2018 LexisNexis Home Trends Report shows significant increase in 2017 peril loss costs; magnitude of catastrophic losses from record-breaking hurricane and wildfire activity


ATLANTA – LexisNexis® Risk Solutions released its annual home insurance trends report revealing the impact 2017 extreme weather events had on catastrophic losses and weather-related perils, especially in states impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and the California wildfires. The report underscores the increasing need for insurers to innovate services and rating plans to address intensifying weather events.

The third annual LexisNexis Home Trends Report assesses catastrophic and non-catastrophic home damages for each state and provides economic home insurance trends by time, geography and peril including wind, hail, fire, water, theft and liability. The study’s findings provide insurers with key strategic and peril trends insight; the ability to evaluate new markets; and useful benchmarking information for keeping a more accurate book of business with proper risk pricing.

This year’s report demonstrates an increase in both the number of losses and the percentage of those losses that resulted from an extreme weather event. According to the findings, loss costs increased 19 percent since 2016, and of those claims catastrophic claims made up nearly 35 percent, a 5 percent jump. 2017’s extreme weather, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, increased the severity and proportion of catastrophic claims for the year, with 60 percent of wind claims and water claims qualifying as a catastrophe, especially in Texas and Florida.

“This year’s report highlights the significant impact last year’s extreme weather events had on coastal states and the resulting influx of claims,” said George Hosfield, Senior Director, Home Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “Keeping an eye on historical data like the trends outlined in our report helps home insurers be more innovative and better meet homeowner needs, especially when you can pinpoint specific trends by state or region.”

Intense wildfires also impacted 2017 claims data across the U.S., with fire claims increasing nationwide by 20 percent. While fire losses have continued to increase since 2012, 2017 saw a particularly sharp increase (70 percent) in the severity of claims due to California’s destructive October wildfires. These fires were so significant that California accounted for 30 percent of claims in 2017, where the state typically only accounts for 10 percent of national fire loss-costs. The recorded severity was due in part to total loss claims and in part to the home high-value in the fires’ paths.

Colorado also experienced a high frequency of catastrophic losses again this year for all perils, particularly wind and hail, and along with California, was listed as the state with the highest catastrophic losses due to extreme weather and other weather and non-weather related perils in 2017.

Other key findings from the LexisNexis Home Trends Report include:

  • Wind – 2017 was the worst year for wind damage claims since 2012, with Florida and Texas seeing a significant spike in losses due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. While wind losses typically peak in the spring during tornado season, the extreme winds of these storms made the seasonality of this claim more variable. More than half (55 percent) of wind losses came from Texas, Florida and Georgia.
  • Hail – Hail claim frequency decreased to baseline levels from 2012 after an intense year for hail claims in 2016. Texas, which was hit with intense storms in 2016, accounted for nearly 25 percent of the hail claims in 2017, showing significant improvement. However, while frequency decreased, hail claim severity increased from 2016 to 2017, resulting in an increase in hail loss cost. High risk hail states also remained the same, with Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, Texas and Montana remaining in the top spots.
  • Water (Weather-Related) – Hurricanes Harvey and Irma increased weather-related water claims by four percent from 2016 to 2018, with Texas experiencing a record number of claims for the state. The 2017 hurricane season was not only severe, but active, causing the U.S. to face a six percent jump in total losses from water.

For more information, visit the interactive website for the 2018 LexisNexis Home Trends Report.

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
LexisNexis® Risk Solutions harnesses the power of data, sophisticated analytics platforms and technology solutions to provide insights that help businesses across multiple industries and governmental entities reduce risk and improve decisions to benefit people around the globe. Headquartered in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we have offices throughout the world and are part of RELX (LSE: REL/NYSE: RELX), a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. For more information, please visit LexisNexis Risk Solutions and RELX.

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