Insurance: Year of Catastrophe

Some writers use the word "catastrophe" loosely, but among fire and casualty underwriters, it has a particular meaning: a catastrophe is an event that causes insurance losses of $1,000,000 or more to a fixed property. And by that definition 1965 was a catastrophic year for the industry in the U.S. Altogether there were 13 catastrophes, the second-highest total in history; they included seven major tornadoes as well as Hurricane Betsy, which caused total damages of $715 million. Among losses not caused by nature were the crashes at various times of three new Boeing 727 jetliners involving insurance claims of more...

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