It seems that aside from snow, auto insurance claims had also been piling-up in the State of Maryland. With a record breaking snowstorm that hit the state last February 10, the second in a week, the Baltimore area and north-center Maryland accumulated at least 19.5 inches of snow after the storm. Baltimore City had been under Phase 3 status which means that no vehicles were allowed to be driven on streets aside from those owned by the city.
Insurance agents estimated that the blizzards had taken at least $830 million of the state’s economy. Damage to vehicles had been on the rise as well as the claims. Clark Carter of Mason & Carter, a Baltimore insurer, said that his office received more than 30 calls from clients because of snow-related damage. This is more than triple the volume of clams his agency normally receives. He implied that amongst other natural catastrophes that the state had experienced, this is far the most destructive.
According to Loretta Worters, vice president with the Insurance Information Institute (III), there is no clear amount yet as to the damages caused by the storms. It is however estimated that more than $25 million in damages may be attributed to each storm that passes a state. But this is a conservative estimate. Last year, in the State of Ohio, a snow storm had caused $565 million in damage. With this at hand, it is still too early to say how far insurance rates would be pushed. More storms that might come would add to the damage and thus contribute to insurance costs.
State Farm said that it had received 300 auto insurance claims. John Izzo, regional vice manager for the mid-Atlantic region of Geico, said that his company saw a 14 percent increase in motor insurance since the last two storms. It even opened its offices on a Sunday to accommodate with the increasing demand. Allstate, on the other hand, supplemented is contingent of insurance adjustors from 70 to 110 to work in Maryland to help in the accommodation of claims.
There had been no fatalities in the incidents but emergency crews had responded to more than 700 accidents. Even Celtic County declared a transportation emergency. This means that only emergency vehicles may travel on roads. Neil Pedersen, the State Highway Administrator, said that even now that the storms had receded, roads may still need to be closed because of road conditions. Governor Martin O’Malley, on the other hand, called on the residents for cooperation advising them to keep-off the roads when the situation is perilous.