Trends We Are Seeing In Weather Related Claims And Auto Claims

2016 was a mild weather year if you take some of the extreme storms that we had in Lakewood out of the mix. However, though many insurance companies across the eastern portion of the United States experienced more claims than in 2015, 2016 was still better than 2015 and prior. Just so you can wrap your head around what “a lot” of claims really means, companies like Auto Owners Insurance, for example, had over 500,000 claims in 2016. That’s number of claims, not number of dollars! And more than 71,000 of those claims were weather related. Weather related incidents include hail, wind, tornadoes, with the worst one in neighboring Kokomo, IN. Farther away, Hurricane Matthew delivered over 6,400 claims in FL, GA , NC & SC alone. Even though wildfires are not considered weather events, Tennessee wildfires caused over 200 claims and the majority of those claims were considered “total losses.”

The Claims Divisions in all of our insurance carriers for Gordon Tower Insurance becomes the “Face of the Company” so their ability to put lives back together and deliver on our promises is of the utmost importance. This is why it is our utmost concern to only consider companies with outstanding claims handling. Companies like Auto Owners have continued to expand their auto physical damage area by staffing auto appraisers and in-house appraisers throughout the regions. Claims handlers also are integral in storm deployment and handle day-to-day auto appraisals for the various branches. They need to be available to assist customers in storm affected areas, thereby providing services using a mobile office allowing them to respond in a more efficient manner. This is a great bonus to be able to offer additional assistance to clients in dire need.

Unfortunately, losses are increasing for all insurance carriers. Not all are related to weather, of course. For example, did you know that, according to Safeco, 1 in 4 car crashes are due to cell phone use? Actually, I think it’s higher than that. We call it distracted driving. Don’t even get me started – I can go off on a full tangent on that one. The number of miles driven in 2015 has gone up 3.5% from 2014, while it sounds insignificant, it is the largest annual increase in 25 years! More time on the road means higher probability of auto accidents for drivers. The total number of new cars purchased is up 5.7% from 2014; as you know, it costs more to fix new cars and trucks. Newer cars have advanced technology and therefore, are more expensive to fix. Safeco reports 12.7% increase in total loss auto claims between 2013 and 2015, which mirrors the entire insurance industry, alas. Lastly, 32.1% is the rise in the average cost of bodily injury claims between 2005 – 2013. This is due in part to increased accident severity (scary!), increased costs to repair cars and trucks and the exorbitant cost of medical care, when people are injured in an auto accident.

We ask our clients to first call us at Gordon Tower Insurance Agency so we can manage your claim at the point of entry and stay on top of it for you. We then put the claim report in to the proper insurance carrier for you, so you can do what’s important - take care of yourself and your family. Then the Claims Adjuster can assist you. Our insurance carriers Claims Departments are helping our customers each and every day. That is a lot of responsibility and a ton of work for people who know how to do it right. One of our carriers has even used a Claims RV at “insurance villages” that were established in storm areas where clients could come to them to report a loss. As you can imagine, this is super handy for independent agencies that have lost power and cannot upload claims info on their computers. They have even used the RV for “drive thru” loss reporting for cars and trucks after hail storm events. This provides great visibility too, for comforting people during a time of loss, and letting them see their insurance carries in their area when losses occur. 

When you buy insurance from Gordon Tower Insurance Agency, you know we only work with the best. Our policy holders, like you, need insurance for peace of mind and you trust us to protect you at the time of loss. We expect our insurance carriers to deliver on the promises we make when a loss occurs and help you put your life back together when you need it. We know our Insurance carriers are there behind us to help our clients when they need it most.

Mary Bodnar

Mary Bodnar is Marketing Manager as well as Licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Agent for Gordon Tower Insurance Agency at 14701 Detroit Ave, Suite # 362 Lakewood 216/663-7777. She is also professional freelance writer who has been published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines – Great Lakes Mariner Magazine, Your Boat Connection, Cleveland/Akron Family Magazine, Lake Erie Living Magazine, CBC (Cleveland Business Connect) Magazine, Cleveland Jewish News and many other newsletters and publications over the years.  She is also Editor and Press Agent for the book “Music of Our Spheres: A Collection of Ruminations”  by Dillon Bodnar available on She is co-host of Word Lovers Writers Retreats in Lakeside, OH w/writer friend Claudia Taller. In addition she was the Theater Critic for the Lakewood Observer Newspaper as well as being a regular contributing writer covering human interest stories for the Lakewood Observer.  Mary also conducted all the extensive interviews with five ordained women that formed the core of the multi-media production “Making Waves” play. She is also an established workshop presenter and has shared her love of poetry, not only through her dance performance programs but as a poetry writing educator with a variety of groups. Her Odes Writing Poetry Workshop has received accolades from attendees. As a volunteer, she also writes and is the copy editor for her church website and other church publications. 

Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 5:10 PM, 04.04.2017