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The weather gauge
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The weather gauge

Driving extreme weather awareness and resilience forward

people across the US surveyed

Thunderstorms. Floods. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. These are just some of the severe weather events that are affecting regions of the US with greater frequency and severity, and the risks  impending on the horizon are less predictable than ever. But what does the average homeowner really know about the potential impact of these events? And do they know how to better prepare their homes to withstand such events?

As a leader in the reinsurance industry, Munich  Re* plays a pivotal role in the global effort to adapt to extreme weather by putting risk mitigation measures in place. We are committed to educating all stakeholders to understand the magnitude of potential loss, closing the protection gap, and making our communities more resilient.

In collaboration with the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), our  “2023 Q2 Consumer Survey Homeowners Perception of Weather Risk”  asked more than 2,000 people across the US to “gauge” what the average consumer understands about extreme weather and what measures they have taken to better to protect their homes and families.  

Key findings from the survey confirm some consumers lack knowledge of their potential to be impacted by severe weather events and emphasize the need for educating all stakeholders about their role in helping to  build more resilient communities.

Perception vs. reality of weather risks

Of those surveyed, 59% of homeowners do not perceive they will be impacted by severe weather in the next ten years. Even more concerning, 25% do not think they will ever be impacted.  

Extreme weather events can strike anywhere, at any time. In the last five years, 90 weather events occurred in the US — each resulting in over a billion dollars in damages.1 In the first nine months of 2022 alone, the US experienced 18 separate billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.2

Preparedness starts with education: Everyone needs to recognize the  urgency to adapt to extreme weather now. By acknowledging the potential risks, they can take proper steps to mitigate them.  
Munich  Reinsurance America., Inc.  ("Munich  Re US") offers community-based solutions to help bridge the knowledge gap, encompassing risk education to risk transfer. Our solutions include education and training on extreme weather and its impacts, tools and data analytics that show the changing risk landscape, public private partnerships to strengthen community preparedness, and innovative risk transfer solutions.

Defining an insurance protection gap

The good news: Most homeowners (88%) do have homeowners insurance, due to mortgage lender requirements. More alarming is the remaining 12% who do not have coverage.  

In our survey, 48% of uninsured homeowners have a household income of less than $40,000 per year. At lower income levels, homeowners insurance may be viewed as a discretionary purchase. However, extreme weather does not discriminate by income, and low-income homeowners remain at risk. This insurance protection gap equals billions of dollars in losses each year. In 2022, only $94 billion of the $148 billion economics losses due to natural disasters in the US were insured, leaving a gap of $54 billion in uninsured losses.

Weather risk keeping homeowners up at night

Nationally, over half of homeowners believe thunderstorms (including lightning, floods, and tornadoes) to most likely result in an insurance claim. This belief appears to be accurate, and aligns with the data that thunderstorms are the most common and damaging natural catastrophe in the US.3  On average, over the past ten years (2013 – 2022), flooding caused more than $7.8bn billion in economic losses each year.4  

Protecting homeowners from rising flood waters

Although homeowners correctly identified thunderstorms as the top weather risk, most do not realize the level of risk and destructive power of flood waters alone. According to FEMA, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the US. Between 1996 and 2019, 99% of US counties were impacted by a flooding event.5

Anywhere it can rain, it can flood, yet only 22% of the homeowners in our survey believe they are at risk of being impacted by this destructive peril.6

Additionally, many consumers are not aware that flood coverage must be added or endorsed onto their homeowners insurance policy — it is not covered by the basic policy itself.

Our survey revealed that of those who perceive they are at risk of flooding, 78% have purchased flood insurance. This points to the fact that it is critical to educate consumers not only about flood risk itself, but also about obtaining proper coverage for this risk.  

In the past, many people did not realize there was more than one option for flood protection. Today educated consumers appear to be more aware of the different flood insurance options. As demonstrated by our survey, out of all the homeowners who purchased flood insurance, 48% purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program marketplace and 52% purchased from private insurers. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence, in 2020, net premiums written for private flood insurance totaled $302.4 million.7
Munich  Re US personal lines flood endorsements are designed to narrow the protection gap by offering affordable flood insurance developed specifically for homeowners in low-to-moderate risk areas. Our turnkey Inland Flood endorsements offer expanded coverages that can easily be added onto existing personal lines policies.  

Enhancing resiliency is a team effort

Purchasing proper insurance coverage is just one step homeowners can take to help create a resilient home. While a homeowner cannot predict or control severe weather events, they can play a crucial role in protecting their home against them.

Across the US, 40% of homeowners report they have taken steps to better protect their home, however, 60% say they have not completed any steps to make their home more resilient.  

Respondents were asked about resilience-related home improvements they have made to protect their home. Half of the respondents have made some type of resilience-related improvements, while 50% have not.

The top two home improvements cited in the survey were:

  1. Installing smart sensors and cameras to monitor for damages
  2. Using new building techniques to fortify roof, windows, doors, and walls

As part of the team, insurance providers should educate homeowners about the importance of resilience and the measures they can take to better protect their homes and ultimately reduce losses. Along with the insurance industry, policymakers, homeowners, and communities can all take steps to help reduce the impact of extreme weather events. Mitigation efforts can help protect lives, improve safety, prevent property loss, and decrease disruption of daily life. Society can  realize a monetary return on this investment in resiliency. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences8:

  • Mitigation saves $13 per $1 invested  
  • Adopting latest building code requirements saves $11 per $1 spent    
As a member of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), Munich  Re US is committed to advancing research leading to real-world solutions for home and business owners, helping to create more resilient communities.
Using technology to sense conditions like leaks or water intrusion can alert homeowners in time to control damages. Through sourcing and delivering IoT solutions for inside the home, HSB Applied Technology Solutions helps to mitigate property damage through real-time sensors.  

Inexpensive ways homeowners can play their part

Willing to spend up to $5k
Homeowners can play an active role in taking measures to weatherproof their home without spending a fortune. The good news is that almost three-quarters (63%) of survey respondents  are willing  to spend up to $5,000 on resilient-related maintenance and home improvements.  

Willingness to spend for mitigation efforts

$1 to $2,500 40%
$2,501 to $5,000 23%
$5,001 to $10,000 13%
$10,001 to $25,000 7%
$25,001 or more 3%
Unwillingness to spend 14%
Total 100%

Maintenance and improvement activities under $5,000

For five decades, Munich  Re has been analyzing the effects that climate change and its consequences have on weather-related natural disasters. We utilize long-term meteorological and loss data to understand changes in risks. With this expertise, we continue to educate our stakeholders on the reality and impact of the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather.  

Munich  Re is committed to driving extreme weather awareness and resilience forward.

*Munich  Re (includes all subsidiaries  of Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft Aktiengesellschaft in München)

Executive Exchange

Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan, and Munich Re America EVP Tim Brockett, discuss the results of the 2023 consumer survey of homeowners perception of weather risks.

Get the competitive edge with our turnkey Inland Flood endorsement.

2023 Q2 Consumer Survey - Homeowners Perceptions of Weather Risks

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The 2023 Q2 Consumer Survey-Homeowners Perception of Weather Risks was conducted by the Insurance Information Institute in coordination with Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.
The Insurance Information Institute name, as reflected on this website,  is used with consent.
Insurance Information Institute logo for The weather gauge
© Munich Re
For additional information about homeowners’ insurance, visit here.
Tim Brockett
Head of Specialty
Munich Re US
Mark Bove
Nat Cat Solutions Manager
Munich Re US
Serena Garrahan
Serena Garrahan
Inland Flood Product Manager
Munich Re US
Raghuveer Vinukollu
Raghuveer Vinukollu
Head of Climate Insights & Advisory
Munich Re US


Related links


1 National Centers for Environmental Information. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from  
2 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. hit with 18 billion-dollar disasters so far this year. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from
3 National Weather Service. Thunderstorm Hazards. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from    
4 NatCatSERVICE, Munich Re, retrieved 7/13/23
5 FEMA. Mapping the risk – Flood map modernization. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from
6 FEMA. FEMA’s Community Rating System Program Rewards Flood Risk Reduction. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from
7 Insurance Information Institute. Spotlight on: Flood insurance. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from  
8 National Institute of Building Sciences. Mitigation saves up to $13 per $1 invested. Retrieved April 20, 2023, from