Examples of Economic Losses, from Hail in the United States

Stanley A. Changnon Jr. Illinois State Water Survey, Urbana 61801

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Abstract

Crop-hail insurance companies, both private and governmental, insure about 15% of the national crop value, and their data represent a better source of information to evaluate economic aspects of hail loss than exist for any other form of severe weather. Past results and these insurance data were used 1) to illustrate variations in hall losses on various time and space scales, and 2) to reveal through these Illustrations the limitations in the available information and the need to make estimates to derive total hail loss for any period or place. The nation's greatest hail loss area is the Great Plains ($86 million annually) with the Corn Belt area ranking second ($67 million). Illinois rank first in the amount of liability; North Carolina ranks first in total insurance premiums and in number of paid losses; Idaho first in the average amount paid for an individual loss; and North Dakota first in total crop loss. Little information exists about property losses from hail, but limited Illinois studies suggest it represents about 10% of the crop losses. Catastrophic hailstorm lost days that create $1 to $5 million in losses and thus 15–75% of the total annual loss in a state are a major problem for farmers, hail insurance companies, and hail modification groups. The total estimated average annual crop-hail loss in the United States is $284 million, which represents about 1% of the national crop production, and the total national loss (crops and property) due to hail is estimated to be $315 million.

Abstract

Crop-hail insurance companies, both private and governmental, insure about 15% of the national crop value, and their data represent a better source of information to evaluate economic aspects of hail loss than exist for any other form of severe weather. Past results and these insurance data were used 1) to illustrate variations in hall losses on various time and space scales, and 2) to reveal through these Illustrations the limitations in the available information and the need to make estimates to derive total hail loss for any period or place. The nation's greatest hail loss area is the Great Plains ($86 million annually) with the Corn Belt area ranking second ($67 million). Illinois rank first in the amount of liability; North Carolina ranks first in total insurance premiums and in number of paid losses; Idaho first in the average amount paid for an individual loss; and North Dakota first in total crop loss. Little information exists about property losses from hail, but limited Illinois studies suggest it represents about 10% of the crop losses. Catastrophic hailstorm lost days that create $1 to $5 million in losses and thus 15–75% of the total annual loss in a state are a major problem for farmers, hail insurance companies, and hail modification groups. The total estimated average annual crop-hail loss in the United States is $284 million, which represents about 1% of the national crop production, and the total national loss (crops and property) due to hail is estimated to be $315 million.

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