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Property insurance firms likely spared severe costs from Irene

Posted On Wed, August 31, 2011

Because Hurricane Irene made landfall last week as a substantially weaker storm than first anticipated, reports say the country's insurance companies may avoid major costs, when compared to the storm's potential.

According to the Hartford Courant, the storm's downgrade to a tropical storm came very late, so damages fall under hurricane insurance, which generally carries higher deductibles than other types of coverage.

"The wind damage doesn't seem to be nearly as severe as a lot of the flooding damage," James R. Berliner, president of the Professional Insurance Agents of Connecticut Inc., told the paper. "The flooding and rain runoff seems to be a lot of the damage we're seeing today."

Despite the fact that much of the damage may result from flood damage - which is not included in home insurance quotes - the storm may still cause nearly $2.6 billion in insured claims over the East Coast of the U.S.

While not an insignificant amount, the paper says it pales in comparison to the $41.1 billion cause by Hurricane Katrina. 

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