Winter Freeze Damage Expected to Hit $18 Billion From Burst Pipes, Collapsed Roofs

According to a leading risk modeling company, property insurers can expect an estimated $ 18 billion in damage to households and businesses from the long, cold weather in Texas and many other states, the equivalent of a major hurricane.

More than half of the payments will go to Texas, and businesses – not homeowners – will receive most of the payouts, according to Karen Clark & ​​Co. of Boston, who runs disaster modeling software widely used in the US insurance industry.

Much of the damage is due to widespread freezing of pipes that have burst in schools, museums, churches, commercial spaces and homes, causing significant water damage, Ms. Clark said in an interview Friday.

The damage is spread across around 20 states. In addition to Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee are among the hardest hit states, Ms. Clark said.

“This event has snow and ice, but it is largely a freezing event and most of the claims will be related to water damage,” she said. Her company’s estimate includes commercial roof collapses, “and a lot of different types of claims, but they are dominated by water claims.”

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