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Recent storms fifth worst in state since 1982, insurance company says

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Jan. 31, 2009 at 5:00 am with No Comments »
January 31, 2009 5:00 am

A Seattle-based insurance company has ranked the recent weeks of heavy snowfall, freezing temps and flooding as among the most damaging of the state’s bad weather spells.

Here’s the press release from PEMCO:

SEATTLE – Washington’s recent spell of bad weather – snow, freezing temperatures, followed by heavy rain and flooding – will rank among the most damaging ever, according to Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance.

Although final figures won’t be known for several weeks, PEMCO’s claims trends show the year-end snowstorms and rapid snowmelt will end up generating a projected 1,305 claims totaling around $7 million in losses. That would rank No. 5 all-time on the PEMCO Storm Index, which tracks PEMCO’s weather-related losses dating to 1982.

Sandwiched around the recent storms are the Dec. 18, 1990, Seattle snowstorm ($7,650,007 in PEMCO claim losses, gross inflation-adjusted dollars), ranking No. 4; and the 10-day Puget Sound snowstorm of February 1985 ($6,788,775 in losses), ranking No. 6. (See chart.)

“These recent storm claims were a bit tough to gauge, because they actually resulted from a series of events, not one isolated storm," said Jon Osterberg, PEMCO spokesperson. "We’ll likely see more claims trickle in later, and they’ll be expensive – things like stressed roofs, or broken pipes that won’t be discovered until outdoor faucets are used this spring."

PEMCO is the largest property and casualty insurer headquartered in Washington and insures only Washington residents.

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