AIR Worldwide, a catastrophe modeling firm, is estimating that the damages from the ongoing winter storm ravaging the north-eastern United States, a storm the firm claims is the largest since the 1950’s, could be affecting more that 100 million people across 30 states. Insurers are saying the cost of damages to properties, automobiles, and persons could be as much as $1.4 billion – that would be the cost when the storm was at its peak during February 1st and 2nd.
The storm broke snowfall records for most of the state affected. Newark, New Jersey, reported 62 inches of snow. New York City’s Central Park has seen 56 inches fall since the storm began. Anywhere between 22 and 25 inches is the average for both cities.
Oklahoma has been declared an official disaster area. Governors in Illinois, Indiana and Missouri declare states of emergency, calling on the National Guard for assistance in rescue measures. Illinois and Oklahoma are among the hardest hit by the storm.
Insurers will be under pressure during the recovery period and the federal government is expected to keep a shrewd eye on the process of rebuilding. It is unclear whether the storm will have an effect on plans or the type of coverage offered by insurers but it is likely that premiums will rise as a result of the storm.
Insurers may decide to reevaluate their policies as the damages of the storm continue to mount. A recent disaster in Australia sent the insurance industry reeling with severe rebuke from the government. If the same happens in the U.S., there may be rather significant changes to insurance in the months ahead.