Most wind insurance policies limit homeowner claims if the damage is created by a "named storm," and a recent trend toward giving names to storms other than tropical cyclones during hurricane season has raised concerns.
Not to worry, says the Insurance Information Institute, an industry organization with the stated commitment "to improve public understanding of insurance - what it does and how it works."
But understanding how storms are named, and the implications of storm naming on insurance rates, can be confusing.
An article in The Insurance Journal quotes Institute Vice President Loretta Worters as saying, "The named-storm clauses requiring higher deductibles typically have to do with wind speeds set forth by the National Weather Service."
The convention of naming tropical cyclones, which can become hurricanes, comes from the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations body located in Switzerland.
It defines the criteria for naming a storm and creates a new alphabetical list of storm names each year. The National Weather Service uses this methodology.
As you may have noticed, The Weather Channel has started pinning Latin names on winter storms. The pre-Valentine's Day storm that iced up the Ravenel Bridge and wreaked havoc on Lowcountry pine forests was named Pax.
Pox would have been a better name.
The Weather Channel names winter storms to raise awareness, encourage better preparedness and make it easier to track a storm's progress.
The Insurance Information Institute thinks that's a good thing. And so it is.
As long as it doesn't give underwriters new ideas for limiting claims.
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