The year 2011 was a bad one in terms of the high number of homeowners' insurance claims for catastrophic weather events, and that will hit policyholders in their wallets. Robert Hartwig, President of the Insurance Information Institute, says more than 36-billion in claims losses last year came about because of bad weather. And some claims were in places not usually associated with that kind of loss. He says the industry usually expects to see annual claims from places like Florida and Texas because of bad weather. But a lot of losses from storms and floods and tornadoes were unusual in 2011, both in their frequency and because they occured in new places.

He says the figures are still being tallied, but the year 2011 will go into the record book as the 4th or 5th-highest in terms of claims and policyholder losses. Hartwig says ultimately that kind of heavy loss incurred by insurers, both the increased cost of the claims and the number of claims puts pressure on the cost of homeowners' insurance.

Hartwig also says premiums for homeowners insurance in Jersey can be higher that in other parts of the country because it costs more to repair or replace a home here than it does in say, Ohio.