Here is our second-annual list of the country's 10 safest cities.
The list proved hard to crack. Nine cities from our 2004 list (Risk & Insurance®, December 2004) remained on the 2005 top 10--even after we factored into this year's analysis AIR Worldwide's new U.S. Winter Storm Model. (Rochester, Buffalo and Hartford did drop in the rankings because of their execrable winter weather, by the way.)
The lone city left out in the cold in 2005--Greenville, S.C. It fell from No. 7 to No. 11. Winter weather doesn't come to mind when we think South Carolina, but the Greenville region is prone to occasional ice and snow storms. And because these storms are infrequent, building stock in Greenville typically is not designed to hold up to them. So when ice and snow do happen, damage is compounded.
San Diego, Calif., snatched Greenville's place on the list. As the No. 8 safest city for 2005, San Diego experiences an extremely low risk from hurricanes, severe thunderstorms and winter storms, which offsets its moderate risk from earthquakes and terrorism.
If anything, this list refocuses companies' attention on catastrophes, though this year's hurricane season did enough of that. The list also reminds us of the tools that help companies assess and manage potential extreme losses--catastrophe models. They were introduced in the mid-1980s and are now widely used throughout the insurance and reinsurance industries, as well as by governments, corporate risk managers and magazines putting together top-10 lists.
Thanks again to AIR Worldwide Corporation, the catastrophe-modeling firm based in Boston, which helped us identify the 10 safest cities for the second year in a row.
December 1, 2005
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