I.I.I. Expects Northeast Blackout Losses to be Modest

August 15, 2003

Based on past experience, the insurance implications of the Northeast blackout are likely to be modest, according to the Insurance Information Institute in New York. No specific dollar figure was available as of Thursday evening.

Authorities are saying that the blackout will be of limited duration. Most commercial insurance policies exclude damage or impacts from power failures, but there is potential insurance coverage for homeowners, such as from food spoilage. However, this type of loss typically would fall below the average homeowners’ insurance deductible, according to the I.I.I.

In 1977, a two-day blackout in metropolitan New York resulted in $2 million in insured losses. However, civil disorder associated with the blackout caused significantly more damage, totaling $28 million. The 1965 Northeast blackout resulted in minimal insured losses.

“If authorities are right that this blackout will only last a few hours, it will cause lots of inconvenience, but not significant insured losses,” said I.I.I. Vice President P.J. Crowley.

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