The US was "lucky" last year that it missed Dean and Felix - the two largest storms in history

As we enter the 2008 hurricane season, insurers are helping residents in hurricane-prone states make preparations for the threat of devastating storms.

“It is easy to underestimate the risk we face because we did not experience major hurricanes in 2006 or 2007,” said Donald Griffin, vice president, personal lines for PCI.

“Last year, the United States was very lucky that we ducked both Hurricane Dean and Hurricane Felix – the two largest storms in history. Only Hurricane Humberto made landfall in Texas as a Category 1 storm in 2007.

"However, the risk of hurricane damage is real not just in the Southeast and Gulf States, but also in the Northeast. Preparation for hurricane season is something everyone along the east coast should take seriously.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the 2008 hurricane season could likely see 12 to 16 named storms, including 6 to 9 hurricanes and 2 to 5 Category 3 or larger hurricanes.

“To prevent the loss of life and minimise property damage it is vital that coastal residents create a family disaster plan, maintain an emergency supply kit, and stay informed about approaching storms,” said Griffin.

“Now is the time to review your insurance policy with your agent or company and make sure that you have the right coverage to meet your individual needs.”

“We cannot control the frequency or severity of storms, but we can control how and where our homes are built,” said Griffin.

“While the hurricane risk is greatest in Florida, the impact a major storm could have in the Northeast is magnified by its population density.

"Additionally, hurricanes and tropical storms spawn tornadoes and heavy rainfall that often results in flooding. Damage from these types of events occurs every storm season and can be significant.

"As a result, we encourage consumers to reduce their exposure to loss and make certain that they have adequate insurance coverage, including purchasing flood insurance.”