Ohio Windstorm Losses in Feb. Reach Nearly $89M; Ike Losses Rise

March 16, 2009

Ohio’s Feb. 11-12 windstorm caused at least $88.9 million in damages, based on preliminary insured loss estimates from the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII), an insurance industry trade group. Widespread losses were reported by a number of Ohio insurers.

Unseasonably warm air combined with an approaching cold front across the Ohio Valley resulted in wind gusts in the 50-60 mph range in many parts of the state, the Institute said. Darke County recorded the highest gust at 76 mph, according to the National Weather Service. A series of complex storms near Cincinnati also produced marginally severe hail.

OII also resurveyed its members regarding insured losses from the Sept. 14, 2008, Hurricane-Ike related windstorm prior to its six-month anniversary, including closed claims data.

Texas sustained the direct impact of Hurricane Ike and most losses. Ohio is one of eight other states affected by the Ike-aftermath. According to Property Claim Services (PCS) about 270,000 Ohio claims totaling $1.135 billion are expected from Ike – a new state record. Texas losses are currently estimated at $9 billion.

Feb. 11-12, 2009 windstorm – Preliminary insured loss estimates

Twenty two property/casualty insurance companies participated in the OII Feb. ’09 windstorm loss survey. They represent nearly 80 percent of Ohio’s personal auto insurance market, 76 percent of the homeowners market and about 33 percent of Ohio’s commercial lines market based on 2007 Ohio premium volume.

Insurance company estimates ranged from 5 to over 6,958 claims. Losses reported by companies varied from a low of $35,000 to over $17.3 million. Most of Ohio’s top 10 writers of auto and homeowners insurance participated in the survey.

Damage to roofs, siding, windows and walls from fallen trees and limbs were the most commonly reported homeowners insurance losses.

“It’s important to note that not all insurance company claims or loss information are represented in this survey. We anticipate actual losses will be higher than this initial report,” said OII President Daniel J. Kelso.

OII preliminary estimates (based on information from 22 P/C insurers)
–Estimated number of claims: 39,501
— Homeowners: 33,458
— Auto: 1,763
— Business: 3,157
–Loss estimates: $88.9 million
— Homeowners: $71.5 million
— Auto: $2.5 million
— Business: $11.1 million

Sept. 14, 2008, windstorm – updated loss information

Based on the OII resurvey of the Sept. 14, 2008, windstorm, insured losses rose from $553.1 million to over $721.4 million from figures reported by the 28 participating insurers (2007 market share figures: 82 percent auto; nearly 80 percent homeowners; 34 percent commercial). This is a 30 percent increase from the preliminary losses reported in October 2008.

“The number of claims grew 70 percent from 135,317 to 230,163,” said Kelso. “We recognized early on that this event had the potential to rival the Xenia tornado outbreak of 1974 in terms of losses because of widespread damage.”

OII resurvey estimates (based on information from 28 P/C insurers – figures are not total losses for Ohio’s P/C industry)
–Estimated number of claims: 230,163
— Homeowners: 189,096
— Auto: 14,104
— Business: 22,107
–Loss estimates: $721.4 million
— Homeowners: $541.1 million
— Auto: $22.5 million
— Business: $135.7 million

OII resurvey figures represent 85 percent of Property Claim Services’ Ohio claims and about 64 percent of the total insured loss picture. PCS provides loss estimates representing most of the P/C insurance industry and estimates Ohio sustained about 270,000 claims totaling $1.135 billion in insured losses from the September 2008 windstorm (220,000 homeowners, 30,000 commercial and 20,000 auto insurance claims).

OII reports that an average of 95 percent of the Ike windstorm claims in Ohio have been closed, most within 10-90 days, and well before March 14, the six-month anniversary of this costly natural disaster.

“From a claims-handling standpoint insurers were truly tested,” said Kelso. “Many of our companies are also insurance providers in the other Ike-damaged states which include Texas, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Arkansas.”

OII expects total statewide damage figures to rise. The $1.135 billion figure doesn’t include state and federal government damage assessments. The Ohio EMA and Federal Emergency Management Agency are responsible for county assessments that include costs incurred by local government for protection and clean up. These total $36 million to date.

Source: Ohio Insurance Institute, www.ohioinsurance.org

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