Mild weather would help farmers' crops, and insurance rates

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: May 22, 2012

Oklahoma's weather makes the state a tough market for insurers. Ice storms, hail storms, tornados, and most recently earthquakes, make this a challenging and expensive arena for insurance providers. Catastrophic, insured property losses topped a historic $1 billion in Oklahoma in recent years due to an onslaught of natural disasters, according to estimates.

That's one reason Oklahoma's average homeowner's premium has been ranked as bad as fifth-highest in the nation, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. It's also a reason smaller insurers have left the state. In April, GHS Property and Casualty Co. announced its withdrawal from the Oklahoma auto insurance market, becoming the second company to reduce its exposure in the state in six months.

The same thing holds true for crop insurance. National Crop Insurance Services, citing data from the Risk Management Agency, rates Oklahoma among the top three states with the biggest insurance crop losses. Crop insurance companies paid out $2.15 for every $1 in insurance bought in Oklahoma in 2011. Our neighbor to the south, Texas, ranked second-worst, while Vermont took the top spot due to Hurricane Irene.

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