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Insurers to pay US$85 million for “Christmas” storm in Ohio


January 13, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter


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Although far overshadowed by the December 26th Indian Ocean tsunami, Ohio experienced severe weather just before the Christmas holiday, and the price tag for insurers is likely to top US$85 million.
The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) says the US$85 million is a preliminary figure and losses will likely rise above this. Just 23 insurers have reported loss information thus far, with company totals ranging from US$150,000 on the low end to US$30 million on the high end, this highest loss suffered by State Farm.
The number of claims reported thus far is just over 27,000, but this represents about 81% of the homeowners’ market and 30% of the commercial lines market. “We anticipate additional claims as many policyholders are still in the process of assessing damage to their property,” says OII president Daniel J. Kelso.
The majority of claims, 69%, are on homeowners’ policies, where damage resulted from power outages, frozen pipes, sewer back-up and the combination of ice, wind, water and snow taking their toll on structures.
Another 10% of the claims are for auto damage, largely due to fallen branches and other debris.
A state of emergency was declared in 20 Ohio counties following the storm, and many of these areas have again been hit by the ice and rain storms of early January. Following that severe weather, disaster states were declared in 56 counties, but no loss figures are yet available, the OII says.