Robert Hartwig, chief economist at the Insurance Information Institute, an industry group, has tallied insurance payouts after natural disasters in the United States, Western Europe and Japan. On average, private insurance covers 62 percent of the economic losses after natural disasters in those places, he said. But in New Orleans, he expects that insurance will cover less than half of the losses — and perhaps much less than that — because of the magnitude of uninsured flood losses.
The Financial Times is predicting that insurance rates will rise 15-30% across the globe because of Rita and Katrina. Makes that flood insurance look mighty cheap now.