As experts in risk management, even the most seasoned insurer was not expecting last week’s Mineral, Va., earthquake, which luckily did not cause as much damage as first expected. Now, as insurers wait for Hurricane Irene to make landfall, expectations are also high, as meteorologists predict an unpredictable punch to the Eastern seaboard.

While weakening a bit this morning to a Category 2 storm (maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour), Irene may still be the strongest to hit the East Coast in seven years, say risk modelers, and hurricane warnings (which indicate the storm is less than 36 hours away) have been issued from North Carolina’s coast to as far north as New Jersey, where Governor Chris Christie has declared a state of emergency as Irene approaches.

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