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U.S. property/casualty insurers are expected to see insured losses in the billions of dollars from Winter Storm Uri's assault on Texas and the Southern U.S. on Feb. 15, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. said in a report Thursday.
Claims are expected from commercial property and auto lines of business on losses from flooding and other water damage caused by frozen and broken pipes. Although homeowners and commercial property insurance policies generally do not cover losses from natural floods, they do cover floods from broken pipes inside insured buildings, Moody’s said.
Commercial property insurers will likely incur claims for property damage and could be hit with service interruption losses as large parts of Texas are without power and water.
Utility service interruption coverage, which is optional in many commercial property policies, generally has a specific interruption period such as 24 or 48 hours before coverage is triggered, Moody’s said.
“Based on past winter storms, we expect insured losses will run in billions of dollars,” Moody’s said. The last winter storm event to exceed $1 billion was Winter Storm Quinn, which hit the Northeastern U.S. in March 2018.
According to Munich Re, total insured losses from U.S. winter storms averaged more than $2 billion between 2010 and 2019, Moody’s said.