One of the dire predictions (that pesky conventional wisdom thing again) of the post-Katrina US was the soon to be lack of homeowner’s insurance or at the very least, hard to get and very expensive post-war homeowner’s insurance.
But then a funny thing happened… (Peter Coy, in Businessweek’s Hurricane Ahead, But Lower Insurance:
In most of the country, property insurance rates for homeowners and businesses are actually lower than they were before Katrina. And amazingly, insurance rates have been falling recently in many parts of Florida and the Gulf Coast that stand to suffer severe losses from hurricanes, encouraging continued construction in low-lying areas.
- No major hurricanes hit in 2006 and investment returns by the industry set a record.
- Private equity firms, in search of returns, have poured money into bonds, betting on whether a hurricane will hit.
- Florida government is keeping rate increases in check.
- Insurance firms have fled Florida, driving up competition in other states, thereby lowering costs.
- New companies have entered Florida, gambling there won’t be a major storm anytime soon, offering new and lower priced products.