Through the Roof

A string of disasters is wreaking havoc on property-casualty insurers, but policyholders are the ones likely to pick up the tab

IN THE DAYS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWing Hurricane Andrew's deadly visit to South Florida, Allstate Insurance hastily dispatched more than 2,000 extra claim adjusters to the devastated area to assist the 200 stationed there. Many of the reserves arrived in convoys of motor homes. Others flew in from as far away as Alaska and California. Since the storm had knocked out telephone lines, Allstate rushed to set up its own communications system, consisting of 80 shortwave radio units, 850 pagers, 173 cellular phones and a toll-free number. Allstate expects to pay out $1.2 billion to cover more than 121,000 damage claims as a...

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