Friday, 19 February 2021 23:52

Texas Ice Storm Likely to Be Costlier Than Hurricane Harvey

Written by Danielle Ling, PropertyCasuatly360


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As the crisis in Texas continues, insurance industry officials say the deep freeze and snowstorm may become the costliest weather event in the state’s history, as all 254 counties have been impacted.

As the situation is ongoing and claims begin to roll in, Kenneth Tolson, U.S. president of claims solutions, Crawford & Company, said the challenge is, just like after a major hurricane, the power and infrastructure issues Texans are experiencing.


“There’s a lot of challenge with not just the rolling brownouts themselves, but just the super low temperatures that they’re enduring,” Tolson said. “That will lead to more claims because of just how cold it’s been there.”


According to Camille Garcia, communications director with the Insurance Council of Texas, this storm will likely be costlier than Hurricane Harvey in 2017, which amounted to $19 billion in insurance claims, about $20.1 billion adjusted for inflation.


Consumer activists say the massive storm also will highlight variations in basic homeowners policies that have become more common in recent years, but it’s still too early to tell what will unfold on claims counts and impact.


“We’re also seeing a lag of claim reporting,” Tolson said, “simply because of the power infrastructure issues. People’s cell phones are dead, and when they do report a claim, it’s hard for us to reach out. But these kinds of issues will sort themselves out in the next few days.”


On the commercial side, Tolson said, “We are already seeing more burst pipe claims and sprinkler system impacts flooding facilities, so that will lead to a whole different contingent of claims not just like you’re seeing in homes.


“I think the message to the public is that the carriers are ready to respond; we’re ready to respond,” Tolson said. “We’re mobilizing everything from adjusting resources to contractor resources to deal with...

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