The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

April 14, 2013

Losses from Ohio summer storms higher than initial estimate

COLUMBUS — Updated data indicates insured losses from storms that socked Ohio in late June and early July totaled $845 million in the state, or nearly double the initial estimate released by an insurance industry trade group.

The series of storms between June 29 and July 2 still ranks third among the costliest Ohio catastrophes in modern history in terms of insured losses, according to the Ohio Insurance Institute. The Hurricane Ike windstorm in September 2008 tops the list with insured losses of more than $1.2 billion, and the Xenia tornado outbreak in 1974 ranks second.

Based on its initial claims survey, the institute had estimated insurance claims from the storms last summer would total at least $433 million. That didn’t include the $29 million in damage to infrastructure and cleanup costs reported by more than three dozen affected Ohio counties.

The updated estimate of $845 million from more than 145,000 claims is based on more recent information from Property Claim Services, a unit of an analytics company that collects data about the extent of disasters for insurers.

Property Claim Services gathers more detailed information from more insurance companies than are included in the Ohio Insurance Institute surveys, providing a broader view, said Mitch Wilson, an OII spokesman.

“It’s probably going to be a better snapshot of what’s going on,” he said.

The June 29 “derecho” straight-line storm tore across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions with little warning and winds gusts of up to 100 mph, and a million customers in Ohio lost power, some of them for up to a week amid the summer heat. Two days later, another line of severe storms rolled through the state, causing another round of significant power outages.

President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in Ohio and ordered federal aid for areas affected by the storms, allowing federal aid to be used to repair and replace damaged facilities in affected counties.

 

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