Winter storm Hercules slammed cities in the Northeast early Friday, resulting in the shutdown of Boston’s Logan airport and cancellations of thousands other flights in New York and New Jersey. Between 18 and 21 inches have snow has already fallen in some areas, the National Weather Service reported, and more snow, wind and cold temperatures are forecast to follow.
The wild winter weather had David Shore, president of – Insurance in --, Mass., battening down the hatches. Working from his home Thursday, Shore told Insurance Business it isn’t exactly a winter wonderland in New England.
“It’s messy up here,” Shore said. “This is a very long storm and the worst isn’t here yet.”
The heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures associated with storms like Hercules cost the insurance industry more than $1bn in insured losses every year, the Insurance Information Institute estimates. Julie Metish with Taggart Insurance in Boulder, Colo. said producers can help prepare their clients for winter weather, however, and possibly reduce the impact of related claims.
“We try to offer as many tips as we can throughout the year to address issues going on in the area, as well as across the country,” Metish said. “We promote safe driving and offer helpful tips to our customers through social media and our website.”
Metish specifically urges clients to practice safe travel techniques and winterize their home and automobiles, due to the many claims for frozen and broken pipes, as well as auto accidents, she works with during the winter.
Now is also the time to revisit coverage for small businesses, who are often forced to close their doors in the face of severe weather. Michael Barry, a spokesperson for the III, said business interruption and other commercial liability coverages are particularly important.
Business interruption coverage can be added fairly quickly, while storms still have yet to blow past, but others like flood insurance take a full 30 days to go into effect.
In that case, Colorado Springs, Colo. producer Dave Mellinger said the best thing producers can do is offer emotional support.
“Be caring and understanding, and know that the people who are taking these losses just lost everything,” Mellinger said. “They just want someone to talk to, and brokers are the first person to listen to them.”