Hailstorms, Wildfires Hit Colorado’s Insurance Industry

Insurers and their staff are racing to meet service needs in areas hobbled by recent weather events in Colorado, where a firestorm was officially tabbed this week as the most costly fire-related disaster in the state’s history and a spate of hailstorms racked up hundreds of millions in damage.

The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) estimates that the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires caused almost $450 million in damages, making 2012 the costliest wildfire season ever for Colorado.

That follows another estimate released late last month that pegged damages from hail, rain and windstorms that occurred on June 6 and June 7 at $321 million.

About 48 percent of the 69,842 total filed claims from the June hailstorms were related to vehicles. In addition, more than $85 million of the total financial damages were related to vehicles, according to the RMIIA.

There are no current breakdowns for Colorado auto insurance claims related to the firestorms, as adjusters are still combing through properties to estimate damage, according to the RMIIA. As of Tuesday, a total of 5,150 claims were reported as filed.

“Colorado is already experiencing its most destructive wildfire season, and Mother Nature doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon,” Carole Walker, RMIAA executive director, said in a statement. “While wildfire can exact a more devastating personal toll, this is a stark reminder that hail is still historically the state’s most costly insured catastrophe due to the widespread damage to cars and property.”

Hailstorms a Familiar Problem to Colorado

Colorado is more than experienced with hailstorm, and recent years have proved no different.

A recent report from the Highway Data Loss Institute (HDLI) compiled figures from hail-related claims from 2008 to 2011. During that time period, Colorado ranked ninth out of all states in the U.S. in terms of rates of hail-related claims.

Colorado also showed a relatively high total of claim payments with an estimated $152 million paid out for such claims during the four-year period, the third-highest figure.

In 2009, Colorado ranked second out of all states in claim frequency, its highest ranking between 2008 and 2011. That year showed 16 claims per 1,000 insured vehicles and $79 million in damages.

The state’s Division of Insurance issued the following guide for citizens seeking information about their weather- and disaster-related claims.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for Patch.com and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

No comments yet.

Comment on this article