Early Spring Weather and Summer Predictions Point to High Insurance Claims for 2010
With the height of storm season in Texas, Oklahoma, and the Southwest still ahead, high winds, hail, and tornadoes in Colorado and Oklahoma have already been responsible for more than $1.5 billion in auto and homeowners claims in the region, with more being processed daily.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association estimates the 13,600 auto and homeowners insurance claims were filed in the wake of Colorado’s first major hail and wind storm of 2010 in May. Total damages from the high winds and baseball-sized hall are expected toe exceed $70 million.
Last year, storms in Colorado generated claims of more than $1.4 billion. A single storm in July 2009 caused losses of $768 million, exceeding the previous July 1990 record tallied from a 45-minute hail barrage that caused damages totaling $625 million. “This  storm is just round one of severe weather season in Colorado,” said Carole Walker, RMIIA executive director, indicating June and July are actually considered the peak hail and tornado months for the state.
Meanwhile, a round of tornadoes in central Oklahoma on May 10 will likely cost insurers $595 million, with a hail storm in Oklahoma City driving the combined total past $1 billion in property damages. Currently insurance companies in the city are processing more than 700 claims a day from vehicle damage alone.
Additionally, forecasters are predicting a more active than usual hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico, with damage from wind, storm surge, and flooding highly likely along the coast from Texas to Florida and potentially up the eastern coast of the United States depending on any individual storm track.
All these weather-related claims stand to make 2010 one of the most active and costly years for the insurance industry in recent memory, with likely consequences for the development of long-range risk profiles and premiums charged to both drivers and homeowners.