September 16 tornado/storm losses tallied

FOR RELEASE: October 19, 2010

FOR INFORMATION: Dean Fadel: 614.228.1593

September 16 tornado/storm losses tallied

COLUMBUS – Severe weather moving across Ohio on Sept. 16 produced 11 tornadoes, high winds and hail causing at least $17.2 million in damages, based on preliminary insured loss estimates from the Ohio Insurance Institute (OII). The National Weather Service confirmed 11 tornadoes primarily in central, southeast and northeast parts of the state including an EF3 near Reedsville in Meigs County and EF2s in Athens, Perry and Wayne counties. The Governor declared a state of emergency for Athens, Meigs and Perry counties.

According to Property Claim Services (PCS), Ohio is one of the Midwest states affected by this weather pattern. It’s expecting Ohio losses to be in the $20 million range.

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

Insurance company estimates ranged from no losses to over 500 claims. Losses reported by companies varied from no losses to nearly $4 million. Most of Ohio’s top 10 writers of auto and homeowners insurance participated in the survey. Wind and hail damage to roofs, gutters, siding and windows were the most commonly reported homeowners insurance losses. Other property and auto damage resulted from high winds, hail, debris and damage from fallen trees and limbs.

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

September storm preliminary losses (based on information from 27 P/C insurers)
Estimated number of claims: 2,935
• Homeowners: 2,227  • Auto: 421  • Business: 287

Loss estimates: $17.2 million
• Homeowners: $11.4 million  • Auto: $1.2 million • Business: $4.7 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 September 2010.

Wind and hail storm coverage
Wind and hail storm-related damages (hail, wind, rain, tornado) are typically covered under standard homeowners, renters, commercial and auto insurance policies. Some losses are covered up to specified limits, 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 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 fully licensed and bonded in the state of Ohio.

“Although most roofers and contractors are reputable business-owners, there are always a few who canvass neighbor-hoods, misrepresenting their services or misleading consumers into believing they’re eligible for ‘free roofs’ or ‘free repairs’ through their insurer when disrepair is actually due to neglect or outdated materials,” said Kelso.

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 Bureau. View a complete 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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Related resources:
•  OII Ohio wind/hail storms losses through September 2010
•  National Weather Service September 16 tornado/hail report
•  Enhanced F Scale for tornado damage assessment
•  Home repair tip sheet