The aftermath of the record levels of snowfall on Greater Baltimore in February has prompted insurance agents to move double time to aid clients who needed to file claims for car damages ranging from crumpled fenders to fallen gutters.
There has been a sharp increase in calls for insurance claims since the onset of the snowstorms which began on February 6 and 9 to 10. The state has reported an economic loss of $830 million.
Baltimore insurance agency Mason & Carter president Clark Carter said that the recent flurry of snowfall has been the worst natural catastrophe by far that his agency had to deal with.
An insurance business veteran of 40 years, Carter said that his agency had received more than 36 calls for snow-related damage by February 12. This figure is about three or four times the usual volume of claims that his agency gets, excluding claims made directly to the designated insurance carrier.
The most common grievances received so far include collapsed trees, damage to awnings and tool sheds, and auto damage.
Baltimore insurance agency L.E. Goldsborough & Son Inc. president Don Grauel also reported that they had been receiving several calls.
Grauel said his agency took precautions by sending out an e-mail with information about filing a claim to its customers before the first snow storm hit.
Business owners have also been affected by the calamity as business had slowed down. Business interruption insurance does not cover snow storms, according to Grauel.
Insurance Information Institute vice president Loretta Worters said that each storm may have caused about $25 million worth in damages through the states affected by the storm. Worters cited the Ohio Valley ice storm, last year’s costliest storm, which caused about $565 million in damages. Worters said that the rise in insurance rate costs caused by the storms would be contingent on whether there may be more storms on the way which might cause significant damage.
Allstate brought in about 40 to 50 insurance adjusters to the mid-Atlantic region from other parts of the country in response to the storm claim surge. Allstate company spokesman Jim Jennings said that the adjusters will stay as long as they are needed. Jennings also said that they hope to accommodate every claim filed but he did not reveal how many claims Allstate had received due to the snow storms.
In Maryland, company spokeswoman Maria Jackson said that State Farm has reportedly received about 300 auto insurance claims.
Geico regional vice president for the mid-Atlantic region John Izzo said that they experienced a 14% spike in auto damage claims.