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Insurance companies will feel the hurt from Hurricane Irene

A highway sign warns visitors they need to evacuate Dare County in front of Hurricane Irene in North Carolina. The has ordered a mandatory evacuation of an estimated 150,000 tourists Hurricane Irene strengthens and moves closer.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Hurricane Irene, meanwhile, is charging towards North Carolina this morning. The storm is projected to surge up the Atlantic Coast, brushing New York City.

As Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports, Irene will also hit all sorts of businesses.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: This storm is giving insurers more headaches than usual. It's not the strength of the storm that's causing the worry. It's Irene's path.

Michael Barry is a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute. He says Irene will be one of the most significant hurricanes to hit the East Coast in years. And it's expected to affect a lot of people in the New York city area, including on Long Island, and along Connecticut's coast.

Michael Barry: This is a densely populated area with a lot of real estate that, if it were damaged would be very expensive to rebuild.

There will be other casualties of the storm. New York may close its subway and regional train lines, for the first time since 9-11. It's not just the predictable businesses that will be hurt, either. Think about it: movie box office sales are expected to be dismal on the East Coast this weekend. In Ocean City, Maryland, alcohol sales have been banned, so people will have no incentive to stick around.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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Don't worry, insurers will just take it out financially on us that don't live in hurricane zones, tornado alley, earthquake zones, or floodplains. That is what they have been doing since Katrina.

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