Can disasters in other states affect Montana's insurance rates? - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Can disasters in other states affect Montana's insurance rates?

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In the last month, hurricanes have ravaged parts of Texas and Florida with wind damage, power outages and severe flooding. But can the storm damage in other states have an effect on us here in Montana?

We looked into whether insurance rates would go up for us because of natural disasters in a different region of the country.

Chris Huwaldt with PayneWest Insurance, an independent agency, said they have many customers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and right here in Montana. Huwaldt said rates being set and contemplated for near term rate changes are not influenced by storm damage in other states.

But those rates have to be paid for somehow.

Huwaldt said a lot of claims are covered by federal insurance programs and not by local private insurance programs. ?

"A lot of times that doesn't equate to homeowners' rates in our local states," Huwaldt said. "A lot of our insurance companies that we deal with don't have exposure in Florida and Texas. They just do business locally. So again, they don't have to anticipate those claims and rates here."

As for a possible ripple effect?

Huwaldt said if building materials become more scarce, they'll become more expensive. However, he said it would have a downstream effect on our rates here.

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