For the third straight year, Risk & Insurance®presents the list of the 10 safest cities in the United States. The 2006 list remains intact--with a few notable exceptions. Sacramento, the No. 1 safest city for two years running, no longer holds that coveted position. In fact, the city's fallen off the list entirely.
The new top dog--pour the champagne, please--is Rochester, N.Y., which leapfrogged Phoenix for the No. 1 spot. Phoenix, though, remains at the No. 2 safest cities spot for the second year in a row.
Why did Sacramento slip off the list? Is it now a target for freak Pacific typhoons? No, the explanation is that AIR added a new model to the mix this year: their U.S. wildfire peril. Sacramento has never experienced large insured losses from wildfires, but the city could because of a combination of highly flammable vegetation and the steep topography in the populated areas east of the city. Wildfire risk also helped to bump off San Diego from the list. Southern California historically gets burnt by this peril (see the story on this page).
Phoenix, on the other hand, does not have as high a wildfire exposure because there is less fuel (i.e., vegetation) there for fires. But it is at risk just enough not to garner the safest city honor. Other notable additions to the list this year include Greenville, S.C., which returned to the top 10 after an absence last year, and Detroit, Mich., on the list for the first time.
As in past years, this list was made possible with help from Boston-based AIR Worldwide Corp. The modeling firm identified the 10 U.S. metropolitan areas with populations of more than 1 million that have the lowest risk from hurricanes, earthquakes, severe thunderstorms, terrorism, winter storms and now wildfires, as well as the table of all million-plus-people cities and their relative CAT risk on page 36.
1. Rochester, N.Y.
2. Phoenix, Ariz.
3. Columbus, Ohio
4. Buffalo, N.Y.
5. Cincinnati, Ohio
6. Grand Rapids, Mich.
7. Pittsburgh, Pa.
8. Hartford, Conn.
9. Greenville, S.C.
10. Detroit, Mich.
*Metropolitan Statistical Areas included in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2002 definition with a population of 1 million or more, ranked based on potential insured losses from hurricanes, earthquakes, severe thunderstorms, winter storms, wildfires and terrorism.
December 1, 2006
Copyright 2006© LRP Publications