AUSTIN – Manager of Public Relations & Membership of the Insurance Council of Texas Mark Hanna expressed his concerns with the increased number of storms and whether or not 2017 will mirror previous years.
A press release made public by the council March 15 revealed that in 2016 hail storms across the state resulted in more than $3.3 billion in damages in early and mid-spring and $200 million in the fall. With a history of increasingly violent storms, there are questions to what the future will hold for Texas homeowners should this trend continue this year.
“They would just continue to put more pressure on rates basically,” Hanna said in an interview with The Record. “Texas homeowners have been pounded by hailstorms literally for about the past 10 years. There’s been an increase in frequency of hailstorms and the intensity of hailstorms.”
Although 2016 was not the only year Texas had damaging hailstorms, it was the most pronounced in terms of claims and cost. According to the press release, an estimated 500,000 insurance claims were filed due to damages from storms occurring in mid-March till the end of May. Most notable were San Antonio, which holds the Texas record for hailstorm costs, and Bexar County, where a large number of hailstorms caused $1.4 billion in damages across multiple communities.
“We really had some bad years,” Hanna said. “2009 was a bad year, 2011 was a bad year, 2015. … $3.5 billion dollars in hailstorms in those three years. 2016, we get hit with the costliest hailstorms in Texas history. $4 billion dollars in hailstorms. So, it’s rough going if you’re in the business of selling homeowners insurance in the state of Texas and all these hailstorms just puts pressure on rates, pure and simple.”
As it is uncertain what type of weather 2017 will bring, Hanna offered some advice to the homeowners of Texas regarding potential increases with their insurance rates.
“Make sure to do everything you can to look at discounts that are ratable by insurance companies. Look at shopping around at the various insurance companies. There are probably 80 or 90 that offer homeowners insurance in the state of Texas, so it’s always good to shop around and compare prices, compare coverage.”
“If you buy auto and homeowners insurance from the same company, you can often get a discount on rates that way. Just check in with agents and continually ask if there are opportunities for any savings out there. That’s what they’re there for and will gladly provide the information,” said Hanna.