From the March 2011 issue of Claims Magazine • Subscribe!

Early Feb. Storm Could Cost Insurers $1.4B

Catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide estimates insured losses from a massive winter storm earlier last month to be between $790 million and $1.4 billion.

The storm, which occurred on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2, affected nearly 100 million people from Texas and Oklahoma, making its way up through Chicago and on to New England. Thirty states were affected by up to a foot and a half of snow in some places, as well as high winds and ice, AIR reported.

The modeler said the loss estimate includes damage to residential, commercial, and industrial property, and automobiles, as well as additional living expenses doled out by insurers and business interruption losses. At press time, the buildup of snow, sleet, and freezing rain had reportedly caused more than 70 roof collapses.

This winter has broken snow accumulation records in Newark, N.J., with 62 inches compared to the seasonal average of 25 inches. New York City normally gets about 22 inches of snow but has gotten 56 inches this winter in Central Park, AIR reported.

Insurers said some claims have come in from the storm for frozen pipes and ice dams. More claims are likely once the snow and ice begins to thaw, when leaks can occur.

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