Ike Anniversary a Reminder That Ohio Is Not Immune to Natural Disasters

September 15, 2009

A year after Hurricane Ike swept across Ohio on Sept. 14, 2008, packing winds up to 74 mph, the state’s insured losses are now estimated at $1.255 billion, the Ohio Insurance Institute reports. Additionally, the Ohio and Federal Emergency Management Agencies project local government costs for protection and clean up at an additional $38.6 million.

Losses from Ike have capped those of Ohio’s previous largest natural disaster in recent history – the Xenia tornado of 1974. According to the Insurance Information Institute, total damages from the Xenia Super-outbreak are about $1 billion in 2008 dollars, the OII says.

“The message for Ohioans at this one-year anniversary mark is not just its record losses, but to serve as a reminder that we are not immune to natural disasters,” said OII President Daniel J. Kelso.

Insurance companies reported a record-high number of Ike-related claims were filed across the state. Property Claim Services (PCS), which provides property loss and catastrophe information for the property/casualty insurance industry, estimates that at least 270,000 claims have been filed in Ohio including 220,000 homeowners, 30,000 commercial and 20,000 auto insurance claims.

Even with a record number of claims, OII reported that insurers had closed an average of 95 percent of their Ike windstorm claims by March, most within 10-90 days and well within the six-month period following the storm.

Kelso noted that homeowners insurance premiums have risen over the past two years in Ohio. “The average increase has been $45 over the past two years or less than $2.00 a month,” he said. “A small price to pay for protecting your biggest investment, your home. Even so, Ohio has the fifth lowest average homeowners insurance premium in the country.”

Hurricane Ike in Ohio:

  • Seven Ohioans died as a result of the storm.
  • 84 counties reported windstorm damage and power outages.
  • State of emergency declarations were issued in 29 counties: Brown, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Knox, Licking, Madison, Marion, Miami, Montgomery, Morrow, Perry, Preble, Richland, Seneca, Stark, Tuscarawas and Warren.
  • Power outages affected 1.9 million customers making communications between insurers and policyholders initially more difficult.
  • Counties south of I-70 were hardest hit. According to Ohio insurance companies, claims were concentrated particularly around the Cincinnati, Dayton and Central Ohio areas, although numerous claims were reported in most regions of the state.

Source: Ohio Insurance Institute

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