This past winter was certainly rough (and it may not be over yet…ugh), and now that the numbers are starting to come out, we here in the insurance industry are getting a better idea of just how rough.
So how bad has the winter of 2014 been? So far, we’re looking at $1.5 billion in insured losses, and that’s just between the start of the New Year and February 21st. Already 175,000 claims have been paid out to policyholders. We’ve seen collapsed roofs, downed tree limbs and power lines, and of course more burst pipes than I am sure anyone would like to admit.
The good news? These numbers are really not too far outside of the norm, or at the very least were foreseeable to the extent that higher ups in the insurance industry were able to budget for it appropriately. In fact, the industry in general entered 2014 in great shape, so even though we’re paying out big for claims now, it shouldn’t affect anyone’s Homeowners rates just yet.
Why the worry then? Unlike in previous years where the bulk of winter storm damage has typically been found in the Northeast and mountain ranges, this year’s damage extended deep into the regions not used to dealing with such inclement weather. As Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute has pointed out “…this spate of severe cold has also affected millions of home and business owners in the south, many of whom were unprepared for such extreme conditions.”
While this year won’t be the costliest winter on record (1993 holds the throne on that one...remember the ‘Storm of the Century’?), it will likely end as one of the top five. The number one takeaway from this past winter is to spend some time in the fall preparing for snow, sleet and ice - you won’t regret it.
Source - Winter of 2014 Poised to Become one of the Top 5 Since 1980
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