Winter Weather Outlook

Last year’s Polar Vortex has carriers and insureds alike asking, how will this winter compare?

It may be too early to tell if the country will receive the relentless beating from Mother Nature that occurred last winter, but several recent articles provided some insight into what’s ahead.

Claims Journal reports that the upcoming winter season is expected to be snowy and wet according to the 2015 Farmers’ Almanac, particularly over the eastern third of the country. Carriers can expect potential claims from sewer backup caused by flooding from melting snow, frozen pipes and resulting water damage, as well as other claims associated with winter storms, the third largest cause of catastrophe losses, trailing only hurricanes and tornadoes.

In contrast, NOAA forecasters are predicting an average winter without the likelihood of the extreme conditions that were met in many areas of the country last year. However, snow and cold are still expected as well as wetter-than-average conditions in much of the south.

Another report by predicts a “historically rough winter” and possible increase in water damage and freezing losses which account for about 22% of all homeowner insurance claims—to the tune of an average $4,024 per claim.

Donan professionals have the expertise and experience to provide accurate conclusions for winter weather losses, from the ordinary to the extreme.

Sean Cary, P.E., and Regional Engineering Manager of Donan’s Northern Plains territory, said engineers in his area are commonly called out to inspect metal pole barn collapses (or partial collapses) and interior attic condensation, due to winter weather condshutterstock_117724561_smallitions.

“Our clients need an engineer to determine the extent of damage and the root cause of the collapse of these agricultural buildings or to determine the cause of interior water damages in attic condensation losses. Our experts can also speak to repair versus replacement in pole barn collapses or provide a proper repair protocol for attic condensation and that adds a lot of value and further incentive to have a forensic engineer investigate.”

In addition to the above winter losses in our Northern Plains territory, Donan has experts from coast to coast equipped to handle other common winter weather claims:

Burst pipes

Snow loads 

Ice dams

Damaged boiler/ HVAC systems

Mechanical and electrical failures



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