COLUMBUS: Ohio insurance officials say the early January deep freeze, accompanied by heavy snow and ice, will end up being one of the costliest winter storms in the state in recent decades.
Preliminary figures released Thursday by the Ohio Insurance Institute show that the bills for broken and frozen water pipes, ice buildup and wind damage Jan. 5-8 will end up running from $97.8 million to $124.4 million.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that insurers have received 14,748 claims so far, with about three-quarters from homeowners. Most of the rest are from businesses.
Wind chills as low as 49 below hit the state during that period along with ice, heavy snow and high winds. Several cities posted record low temperatures.
Winter storms in Ohio had not caused this much damage since December 2004, when insured losses totaled $105 million in today’s prices. A blizzard in March 1993 caused insured losses of $193.5 million.
“It’s been a busy winter,” said Ken Escoe, Nationwide’s senior claims director for catastrophe operations. “We’ve had our Nationwide catastrophe team working claims in various states — probably at one point 30 states.”
Nationally, insured losses from winter storms also have been high.
The Insurance Information Institute has calculated losses of $1.5 billion from storms from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21, with more than 175,000 claims paid. The group says total costs from this winter could put it among the worst five winters since 1980.
Winter storms typically produce the third-largest number of catastrophic losses, behind tropical storms and tornadoes.