DALLAS – The major winter storm of February 2021 has so far resulted in $ 5.8 billion in payments to Texas policyholders, according to the latest figures available from the Texas Department of Insurance.
In TDI’s last available report, as of July 31, there had been 500,196 insurance claims filed. Compared to Hurricane Harvey, the state’s costliest storm that resulted in an estimated terminal loss of about $ 20 billion, winter storm Uri leaves Texas with about half total damage, at 10.346 billions of dollars.
Meanwhile, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), along with dozens of power producers are being sued by more than 100 different insurance companies in a new lawsuit filed in the court of Travis County District in late December. This lawsuit alleges that these electricity-generating entities were “at fault” and goes on to say that they did not prepare for the winter storm. In early January, Texas marked the total and final estimated death toll from the winter storm at 246.
Of the more than 500,000 post-freeze claims, 85% were from residential properties, 10% were commercial, 3.5% were for auto personal injury insurance policies, and 0.9% were for other types of insurance.
“Of these claims, there are really only about 10% that are still open. So the industry is making great strides in closing these claims where it can, ”said Rich Johnson, spokesperson for the Insurance Council of Texas. “A little crazy how resilient the Texans were in something that was really, maybe unprecedented is being overused, but it was really an unprecedented event in a state like Texas to get this cold snap.”
Outstanding freeze claims are still open due to multiple parties involved. Johnson said insurance companies may have to go back and forth to identify who owes what.
“Likewise, with the building supply chain, spending goes up on anything that needs to be repaired or rebuilt, both on the automotive side and on the residential real estate side,” Johnson said.
A Dallas church is still feeling the effects of the storm and supply chain shortages, as church staff slowly but steadily work to restore the majority of its buildings. The North Highlands Bible Church lost $ 750,000 after burst pipes flooded two of the site’s three buildings. Fortunately, a slight ramp leading to the shrine prevented this building from taking in water.
“We feel like we were very lucky as it didn’t affect our sanctuary, to have been able to come back to church here regularly and we are committed to doing that and being an integral part of the lake community of Highlands, ”said Scott Berry, Facilities Manager.
Church staff say that despite the devastation inflicted on them this year, they were blessed with support and were able to add two full-time positions. Berry says the church looks forward to starting the New Year on a high note and prays for a flood-free year.
“We had some difficulties in trying to figure out how to serve people, how to keep the doors open from a practical point of view, but not from a financial point of view. The congregation has never stopped giving, ”said Berry. “We have seen over the past year how faithful God has been and how he has provided and we expect the same to happen as we approach 2022.”
Now that we’re in a new year, it’s time to take stock of your insurance policy to see what’s covered and what isn’t.
“A lot of renewals are underway. Make sure you have the right coverage. Make sure that you look at your deductibles and that you can afford to make these repairs. Your insurance company is going to cover so much and then there is going to be this deductible. Make sure you have enough money in the bank to cover this deductible. Just make sure you have the right covers for your home, lifestyle, and car. Now is the perfect time to do it at the start of the year, ”Johnson said.