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As Ike Approaches, Insurers Urge Caution

Insurers warn Texas homeowners not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the failure of recent tropical cyclones to result in catastrophe on the mainland.

After a spate of tropical cyclones failed to materialize into a major hurricane event on the U.S. mainland, the danger exists that Texas residents will underestimate the approach of Hurricane Ike. In anticipation of the storm's predicted Saturday morning arrival on the coast of Texas, insurers are offering advice on preparation for the storm and urging residents to heed local authorities' instructions.

Ike is currently rated a lower-end Category 2 storm, with 100 m.p.h. winds. However, meteorologists say that the storm is intensifying dramatically with the potential to be a Category 4 storm before it reaches Texas. The storm is currently in the center of the Gulf of Mexico, moving west-northwest at 10 m.p.h.. Nearly the entire Texas Coast remains under a hurricane watch. While landfall is predicted for Saturday, hurricane watch conditions are possible within the watch area by late Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Several insurers have advised the public of their readiness to respond, and some have issued advice to Gulf Coast residents. Allstate has urged homeowners to be prepared for evacuations and offers advice for those who may have to leave their homes. Liberty Mutual expressed its readiness to answer policyholders' questions and urged them to take the storm seriously.

"The biggest danger right now is inaction," said Sue White, vice president and property claims manager, Liberty Mutual in a statement directed at customers. "Escaping recent storms without major damage does not mean you should take Ike's danger lightly. Taking precautionary measures right now are the best way to minimize the impact Ike will have on your home and family."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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