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The string of properties speckling the Gulf and East Coasts serve as a reminder of what is at stake when the next hurricane sweeps through. According to AIR Worldwide, the increase in the number and respective values of exposed properties along the coastlines remains the largest factor affecting insurers’ hurricane risks today.

The significant surge in coastal properties is said to be driven by population growth and “increased standard of living.” In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Boston-based provider of risk modeling software and consulting services generated a report — The Coastline at Risk: Estimated Insured Value of Coastal Properties — which raised the issue of global warming’s possible link to the frequency and severity of hurricanes. In the years since, experts have yet to reach a definitive conclusion as to a correlation, but they do agree that more coastal dwellings today than ever are in harm’s way.

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