Every year, the Diocese of Lake Charles reviews and analyzes the property liability insurance for every school, parish, building and department within its five-parish territory. All structures and entities are combined for insurance coverage for economies of scale, bigger discounts and spreading of risk.
The Diocese currently partners with the Catholic Mutual Group (CMG) to obtain this coverage. CMG is an organization that is a part of the Catholic Church that focuses on providing more affordable insurance than can be found in the commercial insurance markets. It was founded by a group of Bishops in 1889 and provides insurance coverage for over 125 dioceses and archdioceses in North America and 200 Catholic Religious Orders and Institutions in the U.S. and Canada.
As part of the annual review, CMG engages an independent third party who conducts a named storm analysis. This is taken into consideration every year as the Diocese of Lake Charles collaborates with its insurance partner to assess costs and benefits of coverage levels and premiums.
The “named storm limit” of coverage for the Diocese is $30 million. In the most recent named storm analysis that was received and reviewed in the Spring of 2020, the report details every named storm and its corresponding damage experience in the Diocese of Lake Charles over the past 100 years. The total damages from all of the top 20 storms combined, before Laura and Delta, are only $42 million.
In 2005, when Hurricane Rita made landfall as a Category 3 storm in Cameron Parish, the Diocese was covered with a “named storm limit” of $20 million. According to GC Analytics, the ground-up loss was over $4 million, well below the $20 million coverage limit in place at that time. Rita was the strongest storm in 48 years on record to hit Southwest Louisiana. Hurricane Audrey was the all-time highest damage storm to hit our area in 1957 with losses totaling a little more than $8 million.
Taking a prudent approach moving forward, the Diocese increased its “named storm limit” to $30 million and continued doing so for the next 15 years. The annual premium in 2020 was over $1 million for this coverage.
The analysis conducted by GC Analytics estimated a hurricane loss of approximately $15 million every 1 in 100 years (or 1% chance in 2020), and further showed only a 1% probability that another loss of Category 3 strength would exceed $29 million.
Hurricanes Laura and Delta caused $110 million in damages to the properties of the Diocese of Lake Charles. This is off the charts and defies any historical trends and future modeling of any insurance “experts.” The chances of the Diocese suffering two back-to-back storms was considered “inconceivable” by the experts. Their projections and recommendations were literally blown away.
Rest assured, the Diocese will be taking all of this into consideration as it works towards the renewals for property insurance this spring.