With Another Blizzard in Sight, Will Winter Storm Losses Continue to Rise in 2016?

Winter Storms Accounted for 7% of Insurers’ Annual Catastrophe Losses over Last Decade

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New York Press Office: (212) 346-5500; media@iii.org

 

NEW YORK, January 20, 2016 — U.S. insurers paid out an estimated $2.9 billion in winter-related insured losses in 2015 but remain well-positioned financially to weather the significant storm expected to strike the East Coast of the United States this weekend, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

 

“Insured losses caused by severe winter weather are on the rise,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the I.I.I. and an economist, noting that both 2014 and 2015 were well above what the insurance industry has typically experienced at this time of year. The $2.9 billion in losses for 2015 were up sharply—26 percent—from $2.3 billion in losses in 2014, and up $1 billion or 53 percent from $1.9 billion in 2013.

 

“Despite the sharp escalation in winter storm losses in recent years, insurers entered 2016 with near-record claims paying capital on hand and are financially prepared for anything Mother Nature has in store,” added Hartwig.

 

Auto claims also tend to spike during the winter months, due to slick roads. “This was particularly true during the past two frigid years,” Dr. Hartwig said. “In 2014, collision claim frequency rose 8.5 percent from a year earlier. In 2015, collision claim frequency stayed high—7.3 percent higher than in 2013.”

 

Damage caused by slippery road conditions are covered under standard auto insurance policies; standard homeowners and business policies cover damage caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain. “Policyholders who need to file a claim should contact their insurance professional as soon as possible,” Dr. Hartwig noted.

 

Between 1995 and 2014, winter storm claims accounted for 6.8 percent of all insured U.S. catastrophe losses, placing the category third behind hurricanes and tropical storms (40.8 percent) and tornadoes (39.1 percent) as the costliest natural disasters, according to Verisk’s ISO Property Claim Services.

 

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