New research suggests that severe weather risk extends far outside Tornado Alley, the narrow corridor from Nebraska to Texas. Following a record-breaking year of weather related disasters in 2011, CoreLogic’s “Tornado and Hail Risk Beyond Tornado Alley” report provides insurers additional insight into the true extent of tornado and hail risk in the United States.

“We’re seeing an expansion of risk into Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas and Louisana,” said Thomas Jeffrey, senior hazard scientist at Corelogic. “There are areas of tornadic activity outside of Tornado Alley but they don’t get as much media attention. Insurers must expand their concept and be proactive about looking at these areas.”

In fact, of the top 10 states with the highest number of tornado touchdowns between 1980 and 2009, only three actually fell within Tornado Alley, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

“The danger in not seeing the expanded risk is that insurers are going to experience loss from high winds, hail damage and tornadic activity,” Jeffrey told Insurance Networking News. “Insurers need to look into new data and explore these risk states by reading historic records and probability evaluations.

“The risk varies. Our data shows low risk up to extreme risk. We’re able to identify risk on a smaller level not just over half a state or an entire state,” said Jeffrey.

The report analyzes hazard risk at the state-level across the U.S using CoreLogic wind and hail data layers. For example, the area of highest hail risk extends outward from the central Great Plains to include states as far east as Georgia and the Carolinas.

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