June 5-6 Northwest Ohio tornado/storm losses tallied

FOR RELEASE: July 14, 2010

FOR INFORMATION: Dean Fadel/: 614.228.1593

COLUMBUS – Severe weather moving across Ohio on June 5-6, which included a fatal EF-4 tornado in Wood and Ottawa counties, caused at least $22.1 million in damages, based on preliminary insured loss estimates from the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII).

The EF-4 tornado with winds of 170-175 mph moved through northeast Wood and western Ottawa counties late evening on June 5. According to the National Weather Service, the tornado first touched down near I-80 and Oregon Rd. (east of Perrysburg) at 11:20 p.m., moving across the south side of Moline near Metcalf Airport, crossing the northwest side of Millbury into Ottawa county following Trowbridge Rd., and finally lifting at 11:35 p.m. just west of Clay Center. Six Ohio deaths and numerous injuries were reported. Property damage was reported in Wood, Fulton, Ottawa and Lucas counties. Preliminary damage reports, according to the June 8 Ohio EMA situation report, indicated that 32 homes were destroyed, 36 sustained major damage, 78 had minor damage and several hundred other homes were also affected by the storms. Widespread power outages were also reported.

According to Property Claim Services (PCS), Ohio is one of five states affected by this weather pattern along with Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Massachusetts.

Preliminary Ohio loss estimates
27 property/casualty insurance companies participated in the OII June storm loss survey. They represent about 78 percent of Ohio’s personal auto and homeowners insurance markets and about 30 percent of Ohio’s commercial lines market based on 2009 Ohio premium volume.

Insurance company estimates ranged from no losses to over 800 claims. Losses reported by companies varied from none to $4.6 million. Most of Ohio’s top 10 writers of auto and homeowners insurance participated in the survey. Wind and water damage to roofs, gutters, siding, windows and walls were the most commonly reported homeowners insurance losses. Auto damage was primarily caused by high winds and debris.

“These are preliminary loss estimates and don’t represent all insurance companies,” said OII President Daniel J. Kelso. “We expect damage figures to rise once all claims are accounted for.”

June storm preliminary Ohio losses (based on information from 27 P/C insurers)
• Estimated number of claims: 3,628
• Homeowners: 2,831             • Auto: 523            • Business: 274
• Loss estimates: $22.1 million
• Homeowners: $17.7 million  • Auto: $1.5 million • Business: $2.9 million

Although storm losses were substantial, this is not one of the costliest Ohio windstorms in recent times. Click here for a list of Ohio hail/wind storms by year and loss estimates through June 2010.

Windstorm coverage
Windstorm-related damages (wind, rain, tornado) are typically covered under standard homeowners, renters, commercial or auto insurance policies. Some losses are covered to a specified limit, while others apply through policy endorsement. Vehicles damaged by flying debris or fallen trees/limbs are covered under the “other-than-collision” (also known as “comprehensive”) portion of an auto insurance policy. This is optional coverage that protects insured vehicles in situations other than a collision or overturn. Insurance policy deductibles apply for these claims.

Expenses incurred when taking measures to protect against further damage (such as placing plastic over a damaged roof, covering windows to prevent further water damage, etc.) are usually reimbursable under homeowners insurance. Save these receipts for claims filing.

Tips on hiring contractors/avoiding home repair scams
With questionable claims practices on the rise, consumers should be wary of fly-by-night repair businesses and roofers who may not be fully licensed and bonded in the state of Ohio.

“Following a disaster, contractors and roofing companies focus their marketing efforts and advertising campaigns in affected areas,” said Kelso. “Most of these efforts are by local, reputable businesses. However, there will be those who canvass neighborhoods, misrepresenting their services or misleading consumers into believing they’re eligible for ‘free roofs’ or ‘free repairs’ through their insurer when their roof is in disrepair due to neglect or age.”

OII further advises against signing a contract that allows a company to represent a homeowner in negotiating with their insurance company. In many cases, a contractor is not properly licensed to handle the claims process.

Carefully check the background of contractors and others who promise “cheap” repairs. OII suggests checking with family and friends for referrals, or contacting your local Ohio Better Business BureauClick here to view OII’s list of home repair tips.

The OII is a trade association representing insurance companies and agent groups for the property/casualty insurance industry. Its primary objective is to help Ohioans achieve a better understanding of insurance and safety issues.

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Additional resources
• Related release: Insurance company claims contacts & coverage info
• OII Ohio wind/hail storms losses through June 2010
• Enhanced F Scale for tornado damage assessment
• National Weather Service June 5 tornado report
• OII’s home repair tip sheet