Insurers Association Provides Winter Storm Reality Check

To help people prepare for hazards due to severe winter weather, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America has launched a Winter Storm Preparedness Reality Check campaign. Not sure if you’re ready? Take the quiz.

Winter storms caused $3.5 billion in insured property losses last year, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), and the group wants to put a dent in that number this year with its Winter Storm Preparedness Reality Check campaign.

Some people learn by doing and seeing. [The quiz] gets people actively involved in the learning process. It’s a fun way to do it.

The campaign aims to educate drivers and homeowners about winter weather hazards and to help them avoid loss and damage to their property. It includes a video, tips for drivers and homeowners, and a quiz for people to test their preparedness.

“We’re always looking to educate consumers on insurance-related issues,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president of personal lines policy. “Some people learn by doing and seeing,” and the reality check’s quiz “gets people actively involved in the learning process. It’s a fun way to do it.”

The campaign encourages consumers to talk to their insurance agents at least once a year to make sure their coverage is appropriate for them. “The start of the year is a good time to shop around,” Passmore added.

The reality check’s tips for homeowners include ways to avoid frozen pipes and fires from heating equipment, which is a leading cause of home fire deaths. PCI advises keeping anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as a fireplace, furnace, wood stove, or portable heater.

The association says La Nina could bring a drier, warmer winter in the southern United States and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern part of the country, citing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center. La Nina might cause above-average snowfall around the Great Lakes and in the northern Rockies and below-average snowfall in the mid-Atlantic region.

The campaign’s winter driving tips stress the importance of driving defensively and winterizing your car—by checking antifreeze, battery, tires, and windshield wiper fluid—and making sure the car’s headlights, taillights, and emergency flashers are working. It recommends preparing an emergency travel kit.

PCI also warns that distracted driving can compound the dangers of hazardous road conditions. The association notes that the number of auto accidents and fatalities has risen dramatically: Traffic deaths rose 10.4 percent in the first half of 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

PCI works to educate the public and policymakers about what drives insurance costs. For example, “with auto insurance, your driving record and driving habits are factors, but the primary factor is because costs have increased across the board,” Passmore explained. If more claims are filed and the resulting costs increase, people pay more for their insurance. In this way, “a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said.


Allison Torres Burtka

By Allison Torres Burtka

Allison Torres Burtka, a longtime association journalist, is a freelance writer and editor in West Bloomfield, Michigan. MORE

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