We’re now entering the year’s peak period for development of hurricanes and tropical storms.

We’ve already seen some important events: The first two storms formed before the June 1 start of hurricane season, and Hurricane Ernesto made landfall in Mexico on August 8. With the formation (and subsequent dissipation) of Tropical Storms Florence and Helene and the formation of Hurricane Gordon, the total is now up to eight named storms.

This flurry of activity coincides with the release of revised storm formation estimates from Colorado State University, which now forecasts more tropical storm activity than it did in its earlier estimates.

Three and a half months remain in hurricane season. An increase in tropical cyclone development typically begins every year about August 1 and continues through the peak of the season around September 10, falling off after that. A second uptick in storm development usually occurs between October 10 and 20, after which frequency again declines through the end of the official hurricane season on November 30.

The increased 2012 estimates may suggest an above-normal hurricane season, but carriers should remember that frequency isn’t necessarily an indicator of insured losses. One megacatastrophe is sometimes all it takes to move the market.

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