(COLUMBUS) September 16, 2013– Ohio’s widespread severe thunderstorms on July 10 that included flooding and three tornadoes caused between $71.5 and $84.8 million in insured losses, according to insurance industry estimates. Excessive rain during the previous two weeks combined with the high winds of July 10 caused damages primarily from downed trees and power lines, and flooding.
The Ohio Insurance Institute (OII) reports preliminary losses from its member companies representing about ¾ of the Ohio private passenger auto and homeowners markets to be at least $71.5 million based on survey findings.
Property Claim Services reports the July 9-11 storm system primarily affected Ohio and Pennsylvania, with Ohio insured loss estimates at $84.8 million.
Insurance industry estimates do not include losses involving uninsured property or flood-related losses, some of which are covered under the National Flood Insurance Program.
“Not all insurance companies are represented by OII’s survey or PCS findings. Final losses will likely be closer to PCS’ figures. This range is the industry’s best guesstimate at this time,” said OII President .
According to OII, this is the tenth major natural disaster to hit Ohio since 2011, including two winter storms in 2011 and eight wind-hail storms. (See Ohio’s winter and wind/hail loss histories for recaps of these events.)
July 10 storm recap
According to the National Weather Service (NWS) Cleveland some areas of the states exceeded eight inches of rain in the two-week period starting on June 26. Widespread flooding occurred with the final round of rain on July 10, causing road closures as well.
Three afternoon tornadoes were confirmed: An EF-1 in Seneca and Huron counties, and an EF-0 in both Sandusky and Huron counties. A flash flood watch was in effect in many parts of the state.
According to Ohio EMA situation reports, an estimated 263,000 homes and businesses lost power at the height of the storm with heavy concentrations in Franklin, Cuyahoga, Montgomery, Wood, Sandusky and Tuscarawas counties.
Hail damage was also reported in portions of the state.
OII preliminary summer storm loss estimates
26 property/casualty insurance companies participated in the OII July 10 storm survey. They represent nearly 76 percent of Ohio’s personal auto market, over 72 percent of the homeowners insurance market and about 31 percent of Ohio’s commercial lines market based on 2012 Ohio market share figures. Initial insurance company claims estimates ranged from one to 2,850. Insured losses reported by companies varied from $35,000 to over $10.6 million.
• Claim estimates to date: 16,268
• Homeowners: 11,846 • Auto: 1,598 • Business: 2,824
• Loss estimates to date: $71,451,729
• Homeowners: $59,186,741 • Auto: $4,604,893 • Business: $7,260,095
Note: Loss estimates do not add up to the total amount. Not all insurers provided dollar losses by policy type.
OII survey findings show that the majority of claims reported to-date (about 73 percent) pertain to homeowners or renters insurance. The storms caused wind and water damage to roofs, gutters, ceilings and walls. Water back-up, and refrigeration losses and business interruption claims due to power outages were also noted by insurers.
Common losses and coverage
Most property damage related to high winds and hail are covered by insurance. Expenses incurred when taking measures to protect against further damage (such as placing plastic/tarp over a damaged roof, covering windows to prevent further water damage, etc.) are usually reimbursable under homeowners insurance. OII advises saving these receipts for claims filing.
Deductibles apply to auto, homeowners and commercial claims. OII recommends obtaining repair estimates prior to filing a claim when you suspect the damage is close to your deductible.
Damage from flooding is excluded from standard homeowners, renters and business insurance policies. Flood insurance coverage normally can be purchased through a separate policy for homes and businesses. Coverage is separate for the building (structure) and its contents. Licensed property/casualty insurance agents can sell flood insurance. NFIP’s agent referral program is available at www.floodsmart.gov or call 888-379-9531 for coverage assistance.
Insured storm-covered perils include:
• Property damage from hail, high winds and flying debris: Homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies cover damage caused by high winds, tornadoes and hail. Homes or belongings damaged as a result of a fallen tree – whether it is your tree or a neighbor’s tree – are covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
• Vehicle coverage: Vehicles damaged by hail, flooding or high winds are normally 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.
• Power failure: While homeowners policies differ, food spoilage is normally excluded if the cause of loss is an off-premises power outage. Limited coverage may be added by endorsement.
• Basement water backup: Coverage for water backup in basements (drains/sewers) is excluded from flood insurance and most homeowners insurance policies. However, this coverage is available by endorsement on many homeowners insurance policies. Check with your insurance provider as details and coverage varies by company.
OII urges Ohioans to consider hiring licensed Ohio contractors to repair damages.
“Ultimately, homeowners are responsible for the roofer or home contractor of their choice. We caution them to check for proper licensing, references and referrals to help prevent problems down the road,” said Kelso.
To protect against the possibility of contractor fraud, see OII’s home repair tip sheet.
OII is a trade association representing insurance companies and agent groups for Ohio’s property/casualty industry. Its main objective is to increase understanding of insurance and related safety issues.
• OII winter storm history
• OII wind/hail storm history
• ISO interactive map: Insured losses from natural disasters by state
• OII home repair tip sheet
• Insurance Information Institute “Trees and Insurance”
• Property Claim Services
Dean Fadel: 614.228.1593