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Volatile weather increases risk to manufactured homes

Arguments continue on whether climate change is human-caused or just a natural variation in Earth's climate. Insurance companies appear to take the issues somewhat more seriously than do politicians because when severe weather spawns massive hailstorms, tornados, windstorms and torrential rain for a given location, they receive the bill for the damage suffered by their numerous customers.

Minnesota has seen its share of severe weather events during the last few years. Fortunately, the number of large tornados has been limited, but extreme wind and rain events have caused significant structural and flood damage for thousands of Minnesota policyholders. And a recent study from researchers at Michigan State University. It found that there is a frightening prospect for a "massive property damage and death" from manufactured homes and volatile weather.

The report notes that manufactured homes have increased in number from just a few hundred thousand in the 1950s to nearly 9 million today. Worryingly, these numbers are likely to increase, as traditional home construction continues to increase in cost and incomes remain flat. This means more people will need to buy these types of homes.

The U.S. experiences more tornados than any nation and with increasing numbers of manufactured homes, more people will be placed at risk of injury and death. This will likely increase the cost of all insurance as companies pass on the costs associated with these higher losses.

State and local governments should act to increase requirements for shelters in mobile home parks. Increased weather volatility presents a risk to all homeowners and makes dealing with major claims with your insurance company more a question of "when," rather than "if."

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