Insured property losses in the United States hit over $68 billion in 2020, as 19 catastrophe events of more than $1 billion in claims each hit the country during the year, according to data from Verisk’s Xactware and PCS units.
Xactware’s 2020 property report found that extreme catastrophe and weather, alongside pandemic related effects, drove property insurance claims higher last year.
“The global pandemic and damage from winds and hurricanes had a profound impact on property claims and pricing trends throughout 2020,” the company explained, highlighting that in total over 6.97 million property claims were logged during the year.
The claims burden facing insurers, which had a subsequent negative impact on reinsurance capital as well, peaked in August with 883,128 claims filed, totaling $9.44 billion in property losses.
Hurricane Laura, the Midwest Derecho and wildfires that broke out across the western states drove a surge in claims activity in what was an already challenging year, Xactware explained.
More than 140,000 of thee property insurance claims processed by Xactware in 2020 had a virtual aspect to them, as the industry adjusted to the pandemic, representing a 228% increase from the prior year.
“We’re proud to have had the technology available to help the property industry rapidly adapt to meet the needs of customers during the global pandemic, while ensuring the safety of staff, vendors and policyholders,” Mike Fulton, president of Verisk’s Xactware commented.
“Without visiting a customer’s home or business, insurance adjusters can communicate with customers via video chat, access estimation and other relevant data, and process claims rapidly. When catastrophe struck, the industry was ready to support their customers at the hour of their greatest need. As a result, these digital tools and solutions have become an integral part of how work gets done.”