Homeowners asked to beef up coverage

Insurers seek storm deductibles


DAYTON — The growing number of severe storms-related insurance claims over the last five years is prompting some Ohio companies to start asking homeowners to pay a separate deductible for wind and hail damage, state and industry insurance officials said.

The total number to make such changes wasn’t immediately available, said Robert Denhard, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Insurance, a state consumer protection agency.

Most companies have implemented this change for new and renewal business, Mr. Denhard said.

The concept of a wind-hail deductible that differs from the all-other-perils deductible has existed for years in Ohio and other states, especially in coastal regions, officials said.

Insurance companies such as Nationwide have introduced mandatory deductibles for wind and hail damage, while other such as Allstate have introduced such a deductible as an option for policy holders.

Ohio has seen “significant claims” related to storm damage in Ohio over the last five years, said Mitch Wilson, a spokesman for the Ohio Insurance Institute, an industry trade organization.

“There is a new normal out there regarding disaster risk in Ohio, especially due to losses associated with wind, rain, and hail,” Mr. Wilson said. “Insurers are looking at ways to reduce costs and keep policies affordable.”

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reported this month that U.S. insurance claims resulting from hailstorm damage increased 84 percent last year from their 2010 level. Nationally, there were 861,597 hail claims in 2012, up from 467,602 in 2010.

More than 2 million hail damage claims were processed from Jan. 1, 2010, to Dec. 31, 2012.

Ohio ranked in the top 15 states for hail claims all three years, with a total of 74,826 claims for 2010-12, according to the state Insurance Institute.

Four of the five costliest years for Ohio insured losses have occurred in the last five years.