Will Sandy affect fuel prices, insurance premium costs?

Experts say economy avoids direct hit

INDIANAPOLIS - Economists surveying the immediate aftermath of superstorm Sandy say the economy might skirt a direct hit from what is shaping up to be one of the biggest storm to ever hit the U.S.

For the second day, Sandy silenced the opening bell on Wall Street, but financial experts told RTV6 it's nothing more than a weekend interruption unless the market remains closed past Thursday.

"We're not worried and neither are our clients," said Denny Smith with the Mutual Fund Store.

The stock market is prepared to reopen Wednesday, the last day of the month when traders, hedge and mutual funds square up their propositions.

Meanwhile, the churning Atlantic has also shut down several New Jersey oil refineries, but Hoosiers probably won't feel the impact at the pump.

"We are much more vulnerable if a hurricane or bad weather hits the Gulf coast," said Scott Imus, executive director of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association. "The unusual thing about hurricanes is, even in those impacted areas, it destroys demand and people aren't driving around, so there's not a big rush on demand."

Imus said gas prices should remain steady through the end of the year.

Consumers might see a price hike with insurance premiums, though.

"While our Indiana insurers could be fine and dandy and perfectly safe, the amount they pay for reinsurance is likely to go up as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and we will unfortunately, probably, see some type of rate impact," said Zach Finn, a finance professor at Butler University.

It's too early to say how much more consumers could pay for insurance premiums.

Finn said if homeowners and businesses have policies that cover flood and business interruption losses, that will lessen the economic hit of the storm.

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