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Fair Warning: Another Rough Hurricane Season Is on the Way

Althea Chang

Forecasts for this hurricane season are already being released, and according to weather experts, this year could be almost as stormy as last year and that could have implications for homeowners and insurers.Meteorologists expect to see 16 tropical storms and hurricanes in 2013, according to Weather Services International. That's fewer than last year, but still higher than the historical average of 11 per year, noted Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel.

And those storms are more likely to make landfall, according to weather experts in a recent Ceres report entitled "Stormy Future for U.S. Property/Casualty Insurers." Based on those forecasts, insurers expect to report 40 percent higher losses this year compared with previous estimates in the Gulf Coast, Florida and the Southeast. In the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States, insurers expect losses to be 25 to 30 percent higher.

And even though some insurers are raising their rates in order to lessen the burden of customer claims, companies like Travelers (TRV), Allstate (ALL) and The Hanover Insurance Group (THG), among other companies, could still take a hit from this year's storms.

Storm trends are result of warm ocean temperatures, but not necessarily because of global warming, Walsh explained. Oceans temperatures ebb and flow in 15- to 20-year cycles. That could mean several more volatile hurricane seasons to come. Fair warning to homeowners, insurance companies and investors alike.