CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia insurers paid $87 million to state property owners in the months following last June's derecho, according to data compiled by the state Insurance Commissioner's office.
However, for the most part, property owners did not see large increases in their premiums as a result of the claims.
Jane Cline, the state's former insurance commissioner, said she thinks reforms passed in the last decade have helped forestall any hefty post-derecho increases.
"It's a much more stabilized marketplace than it was in early 2000s," Cline said.
According to data compiled by the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner, state residents filed nearly 36,700 insurance claims in the 30 days following the June 29, 2012 storm.
The claims resulted in $87 million in payments to state property owners to cover storm damages.
A year later, evidence so far indicates the damage claims have not resulted in significant increases in premiums or coverage terminations for state insurance holders.
Cline, now a lobbyist and director of public policy for the Spilman Thomas and Battle law firm, recently analyzed the data collected by the insurance commissioner's office, as well as anecdotal evidence gathered from various insurance companies, to evaluate the derecho's effect from an insurance perspective.
She said the data have not shown any significant increase in companies terminating homeowner coverage following the storm.
She also said insurance rates have remained relatively stable. Most post-storm increases she has seen have been in the 3 percent range.
"That's relatively small when you think about the overall dollar amount that was paid out as a result of these claims," she said.
Cline said the insurance market in West Virginia has stabilized considerably since she was first appointed state insurance commissioner in 2001.
"In the early 2000s . . . we had companies that stopped writing policies in West Virginia," she said.
That included both homeowner and automobile insurance policies.