AUSTIN (KXAN) — Now that we’re a quarter of the way through 2023, insurers have been able to collect data on claims for 2022. The data isn’t good news for Texas; We were the No. 1 state for severe weather insurance claims in the nation.

KXAN meteorologist Nick Banin spoke with Allstate Insurance Company’s Chris Lewis about new data on severe weather claims here locally.

Meteorologist Nick Panin: Chris, you’ve got some new data on how severe the weather we’ve had in Texas, and compare it to what we look like nationwide, right?

Chris Lewis, Allstate: Absolutely yes. So maybe it’s not a list we want to be at the top of, but we’re number one in the country when it comes to severe weather, and we’ve been there consistently for the past few years.

Other: What types of severe weather have we seen over 2022 here in Texas?

Louis: Yes, definitely the biggest problems we see is wind, and hail specifically. We had 458 separate hail events last year in the state, and nearly 1.5 million properties were affected by hail. Certainly, this is the biggest problem we see.

Other: Now I imagine that’s just the cost of replacing the roofing, because it’s very expensive.

Louis: Hmm yes. And just like everything else, it keeps going up – that repair cost. So definitely a concern.

Other: How about here locally in Central Texas, specifically, Metro Austin. Where do we rank in terms of severe weather claims within the state? What did we have to deal with last year?

Louis: Absolutely yes. Sort of the big three county here, Williamson County was in the top 10 last year in Texas. We got to #8 for Williamson County, and Travis and Hayes weren’t even on the list last year. But if we look at some of the raw data for this year, it looks like Travis County is definitely creeping up the list.

Other: And remind people, it’s a list…?

Louis: What is the list of counties in Texas that are affected by severe weather?

Other: Oh my God, a list we don’t want to be on. But at least one of our provinces was. You have already passed the rating. You also have some data on the disparity between extreme weather anxiety that people experience versus people actually acting on it and preparing for severe weather. Can you talk about it?

Louis: definitely. Yes. So we did a joint study with Morning Consult that showed that people really do worry about that, right. They worry about that. A home is one of your biggest investments. So the data showed that 68% of people were very worried about these natural disasters, yet 43% had a plan to deal with that disaster. Pretty amazing numbers to show that disparity you’re talking about.

Other: Why are so many people concerned but not acting?

Louis: I think there’s a lot of, well, ‘This couldn’t happen to me, right? This isn’t something that could happen to me.’ But I also think there are a lot of unknowns like, ‘What should I do? How does that sound? How do I put this plan in place?

Other: For those who do nothing. What do you suggest they do before the next storm?

Louis: Yes, excellent question. So I think the two things people can do now, the first is review their insurance policy, no matter what company you’re with. Whether it’s Allstate or someone else, reach out to your agent, and see what your coverages are. Make sure you understand what you have and, more importantly, what you don’t have, before the storm hits. We don’t like surprises. Also get a disaster-ready kit, right. I think the ice storm we had a couple of years ago taught us that we need basic things like water and food and don’t forget your pets when you put that together. But also, you know, charging block, make sure you can charge your iPhone and everything to make sure you’re ready for that.

Take an inventory of your things, right? We all have things stashed in the closet or under the bed that we don’t remember and when disaster strikes, we want to make sure we get compensation for all of those things. So take inventory, so you know what you have.

Last but not least, and perhaps most important, is to have a plan. Just like when you go to cook your favorite meal, you get out a recipe, have a plan, practice that plan, and make sure everyone in the house knows your kids where they need to go, and who they need to call if there’s a disaster, because that’s when the real thing happens. You want to make sure everyone is prepared for this.

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