Nebraskans suffered $2 billion in property loss from storms in 2022
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – After multiple storms with large hail and high winds in 2022, the property damage inflicted on Nebraskans was significantly higher than in previous years.
One insurance company, Farmers Mutual of Nebraska, reported $500 million in insured property loss.
In total, the major storms cost Nebraskans $2 billion.
“We experienced losses that were simply multiples of anything we’ve ever seen before,” said Mark Walz, president, CEO and chairman of Farmers Mutual.
Jay Reiners, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board, lost over a thousand acres of his farm in June to hail.
“I’ve been hailed out before, but nothing like this,” Reiners said. “In all my 2,000 acres, I only had 88 acres that didn’t get any hail. It was pretty much total devastation around here.”
While crops and land are not covered by property insurance (crops can be insured through the federal government), equipment such as combines, grain bins and barns are protected.
Unfortunately, experts say the losses will only get worse.
“The frequency of the loss perils that we experience in Nebraska, and the severity, the size of the loss perils that we’re seeing in the state of Nebraska are going up,” Walz said. “There’s a very discernible trend line that we’re seeing moving upward.”
The severity of storms, coupled with rising labor costs, have made property loss claims rise exponentially. In 2021, Farmers Mutual only covered $130 million in property loss, as opposed to this year’s $500 million.
“In the Midwestern part of the United States, they are grappling with claims costs that are substantially more than what they’ve seen before,” Walz said. “As a result, they should expect insurance rates, as well as deductibles, to most likely be changing as we move forward into 2023 and beyond.”
It’s unclear exactly how much rates will be rising in the coming months, but unless the weather calms down, experts say higher rates are practically a given to ensure proper coverage.