Tornadoes a focus for Oklahoma Insurance Department Summit

Given the high number of tornadoes in the South in the past year – and the resulting insurance losses – the state is hosting the annual conference

Insurance News


Tornadoes are on tap for an educational forum next month, which promises to arm insurance agents with up-to-date information on preparing clients with sufficient insurance coverage to weather the increasingly common storms.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department announced this week that the 2016 National Tornado Summit will be held in Oklahoma February 29 through March 2. Attendees, including insurance producers, insurance adjusters, emergency managers and meteorologists will meet to discuss everything from research in tornado protection to the use of drones to evaluate claims.

Insurance professionals who participate in approved sessions are eligible to receive 10 hours of continuing education credit if requested.

The forum is likely to prove helpful to agents in the South, where tornadoes contributed to $1.1 billion in insured losses in the month of December alone. It should also arm them with greater information regarding how homeowners policies respond to the storms.

According to a 2008 study from Marshall & Swift, a full 64% of US homes are undervalued for insurance purposes. That number only increased as home values tanked an average 33% in the late 2000s and consumers began looking for ways to save money.

The result? People may not have enough money to rebuild their homes.

In fact, the same study suggests most policies leave homeowners with enough money to rebuild just 81% of homes.

Any renters in the area may be in even more trouble. Only 43% carry renter’s insurance, according to statistics from the Insurance Research Council.

Additional help may come from a presidential declaration of disaster, in which the uninsured or underinsured could receive federal aid. However, individual payments are capped at a little more than $30,000 and the average payment is likely to be much lower.

Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms were the number one cause of insured losses from natural catastrophes in the US in 2011, though typically tornadoes rank second behind hurricanes and tropical storms.

To mitigate any risk of underinsured homeowners, agents are urged to reevaluate their clients’ amount of coverage every two years, making note of major changes such as home remodeling or roof replacement.

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