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Last winter was a nightmare.  In the US alone, there were 11 winter storms and cold waves in the first half of 2015, resulting in $3.8 billion in overall losses and $2.9 billion in insured losses, which reached a record high for insured losses.  Boston took the prize for the largest snowfall tally of the year with more than 104 inches.  

Many Boston sports fans wondered if Fenway Park would be cleared of snow in time for baseball’s Opening Day on April 13, 2015.  According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the extreme snowfall accumulations and bitterly cold temperatures contributed to 270 reported incidents of collapsed roofs and buildings. The snow load and roof collapse issues were so unusual and extreme that the FEMA Building Science Branch of the Flood Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) sent a team of engineers and architects to several Massachusetts communities to investigate roof damage and partial collapses of public school buildings.   

And the US was not alone. Severe winter weather also caused chaos for many across parts of Europe. Some parts of Sweden had the most snow in the last 50 years. Italy and Spain were among the countries that saw significant arctic weather last year.

What’s ahead for the coming winter in the Western hemisphere?  It looks like a mixed forecast but given the strength of this year’s El Nino weather pattern, many predict wetter winter weather.  Chicago has already seen more than 12 inches (30 cm) to mark the biggest ever first snowfall for the city, according to the US National Weather Service.  During the same weekend that Chicago saw its first snow accumulation, so did parts of the UK, France, Germany and Denmark experienced falling snow and temperatures. 

Whatever lies ahead this winter, it’s vital for business not to get caught unprepared when the snow starts falling.  Winter weather can cause significant damage.  According to the New York-based Insurance Information Institute, winter weather is the No. 3 source of catastrophic insurance claims, after hurricanes and tornadoes. 

To help minimize these winter insurance claims, many property insurers work with risk engineers to aid in the underwriting process and to assist clients in taking preventative measures to protect their properties. Here are some helpful tools from XL Catlin’s Property Risk Engineers/GAPS team to get you started in preparing for the 2016 winter:DOWNLOAD THE PDF HERE


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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. AXA XL Risk. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any publication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with this publication, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.