Government Disaster Declarations Already A Record

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2011 has already set a new record for the number of disasters declared by the federal government.

The results have included catastrophe claims payouts reaching nearly $25 billion in the first nine months of the year for auto, home and business insurance. These payouts have already made 2011 at least the sixth most expensive year for U.S. catastrophe insurance claims on record.

"The federal government issued 86 disaster declarations as of September 30, breaking the previous annual U.S. record total of 81, which was set just last year," said economist and president of the I.I.I., Dr. Robert Hartwig.

He noted the past 15 years have been marked by a trend of increasingly common disaster declarations, comparing recent numbers to the average of 34 per year from 1953 to 2010. The cause, according to the I.I.I., is a combination of more disasters and a government more likely to declare them.

Disaster declarations allow the use of federal funds for emergency recovery efforts, supporting other levels of government and private organizations. Should the trend continue, it may significantly affect the cost of insurance policies nationwide.

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