Winter DamageThis has been a tough winter…Heavy snow and bitter cold in much of the country have caused more than $1.5 billion worth of insurance losses, making this winter among the costliest in decades for the insurance industry

There have been more than 175,000 claims paid to policyholders for damages such as collapsed roofs, burst pipes, downed tree limbs and auto accidents from Jan. 1 through Friday. Many businesses also have been affected by closures and supply chain interruptions. Economists have also blamed the cold and storms for lackluster job growth in December and January.

The claims paid so far, which include only two of the four major winter storms to hit the U.S. this year, put 2014 sixth on the list of costliest winters since 1980, the group said. When damages from the other storms are added in, this winter should vault into the top five.

The costliest winter was 1993, which included a blizzard known as “the storm of the century” and caused $3.2 billion in inflation-adjusted losses.

Severe winter weather caused 7.1% of all insured catastrophe losses from 1993 to 2012, making it the third-most costly type of natural disaster. Hurricanes and tropical storms rank first with 40% and tornadoes are second with 36%.,0,3848262.story#ixzz2uXrn1FOw