Hint: It’s Because Insurance Claims Skyrocket Around Christmas
(For those who would rather spend this time cuddling with loved ones instead of reading long articles, there is a tl/dr at the bottom.)
It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to have insurance.
No, we’re not trying to be Grinches who stole the Christmas spirit. But we have worked in the insurance sector for quite some time, and we know when insurance claims go up. (Hint: It’s not March. Nothing exciting happens in March).
Why do insurance claims skyrocket during the holiday season? It’s largely due to an increase in the following – travel, decorations, alcohol, and presents.
Don’t get us wrong – we love us a good, spiked eggnog while hanging ornaments and wrapping gifts. But we also love us a good insurance plan that covers all the perils that can occur while partaking in these festive activities.
Here are the top 7 insurance hazards we see from Thanksgiving through the New Year’s.
Incidents of Theft Skyrocket During Christmas
Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanza, or any of the other 14 world-wide celebrations that occur during the holiday season, you and your family most likely accumulate a lot of presents. Sure, your grandma probably still buys you tube socks, and your crazy neighbor brings by those inedible Christmas cookies she always makes. But you are also likely to be gifted with some pretty nice things. And thieves and robbers know this. (There is a reason the Home Alone movies are still considered Blockbuster hits – while abandoning your child is not that common; house burglaries are.)
From smart devices to jewelry to laptop computers and fine art – there’s a lot of money to be had for having “sticky hands.”
If you are a homeowner, you definitely want to make sure your home insurance policy covers theft.
And if you purchase an expensive piece of jewelry for your wife, you may want to have jewelry insurance for that.
Another less obvious type of theft that occurs this time of year is employee theft. While this may not be common knowledge to general public, business owners usually are aware of this, which is why many choose to purchase Employee Dishonesty Coverage. (No, we did not just make that up – it’s a real thing).
Slip-and-Fall Injuries Skyrocket Around the Holidays
You wouldn’t normally associate Thanksgiving and Christmas as a health-risk, but reported falls increase significantly from November through December.
The most obvious culprit is snow and ice. Whether you’re shoveling snow or walking on icy sidewalks and driveways, make sure you’re wearing boots with great traction.
Rates of people falling off ladders and roofs also go up as a result of hanging Christmas lights.
Imbibing on “Grandpa’s cough syrup” is another thing to watch out for. Holiday drinking is great for Johnny Walker, but not so great for insurance agents. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be able to cut loose this holiday season. Just don’t cut loose so much that your night involves a trip to the E.R. Incidents of emergency visits increase exponentially this time of year which means that insurance carriers aren’t the only ones unhappy; so are nurses and doctors.
Data Breaches Are a Favorite Christmas Pastime
Well, not for business owners, but definitely for hackers.
Why? Because online shopping activity spikes in the month leading up to Christmas and does not curtail until after the New Year. And because most people are spending money like crazy, they are less likely to notice odd charges to their credit cards than they might any other time of the year. Furthermore, many banks are less inclined to monitor and suspect odd activity in your bank account due to all the travel and shopping.
This is why cybercrimes double around the holidays. You think Cyber Monday or Black Friday is chaotic for retailers? It’s a walk in the park compared to data breach claims that insurers must deal with.
Moral of the story? If you are a consumer, be proactive in monitoring your card activity. And if you own a business, it’s incredibly important you have cyber insurance – during this time (or any time) of the year.
Cold Weather Increases the Likelihood of Homeowner Insurance Claims
Nobody would blame you if you’re “dreaming of a white Christmas” but be careful what you wish for. While snow and cold temperatures make a great excuse for fireside cuddles, both can be hazardous to your house.
When the weather drops to freezing temperatures, your pipes are more prone to freezing, and this can lead to your them swelling, cracking, and even bursting. In effect, this leads to major water damage once the water inside thaws. According to this article, water leakage inside the interior walls can cause wood or building materials to rot. It can also lead to expansive mold. Frozen pipes are a common issue that accounts for up to 20% of property damage claims.
But that’s not all. During a massive snowfall, if enough snow piles on your roof and your infrastructure is poorly designed or not built to accommodate massive snow fall, this can lead to a collapsed roof. That would make for a not-so-merry Christmas.
Again, while it’s not very likely, home damage can happen during the winter, and you want to make sure your home insurance policy has your chilled booty covered.
The Office Christmas Party Can Go South – Fast
They say never mix business with pleasure, but that policy goes out the window during Christmas time.
We get it. You and your co-workers have been working your butt off all year and you’ve earned a Christmas or New Year’s work party! Plus, everyone is in the holiday spirit and has set aside their frustration with Burt-who-always-eats-tuna-in-the-breakroom.
But then this happens: Burt has pounded down one-too-many Jell-o shots and Kathy-in-accounting is looking mighty good in her Rudolf sweater. Maybe Burt gets lucky but the next morning, Kathy has a whole different account of what happened. Or maybe Burt tries to pull Kathy underneath the mistle toe, and he gets smacked. Regardless of what happened, sexual harassment in the workplace is very serious and a company better have insurance to cover potential lawsuits.
Automobile Accidents Around the Holidays
This article is probably starting to sound like a smear campaign for alcohol, but we assure you we are “here for the beer.” However, we also have seen what happens when insurance holders don’t drink responsibly.
If you haven’t noticed a theme already, we’ll say it one more time: PEOPLE LIKE TO INDULDGE IN ADULT BEVERAGES OVER THE HOLIIDAYS.
As we all know from the D.A.R.E program, alcohol and driving go together like hot sauce on cereal. It’s just a bad idea. Yet, people continue to do it and, as such, people continue to get in car accidents.
A few other factors that increase the incidence of incidents (like what we did there?) are a) more travel and b) more snow and ice.
All of this combined generates a lot of car accident claims. Not fun for you, and not fun for us.
Product Recalls Spike Around the Holidays
As we discussed previously (and as anyone who has been to a mall during Christmas time knows), a hefty about of shopping is done.
If you sell toys, electronics, or any giftable items, ’tis the season you are probably the most profitable. However, this is also when manufacturers are in high demand, and they are forced to pump out as much inventory as possible in a very small window of time.
While your factory might have a great track record for reliability, they may cut corners during this time of year. Accidents with manufacturing can lead to returns, recalls, and even lawsuits. Your best bet for quality control would be to hire a third-party inspection company, but it’s not a fireproof plan, as they are also in high demand.
It’s important that you maintain reliable business and product liability insurance policies in the event your products are recalled, or you face a lawsuit.
Summary of Why Insurance Claims Escalate Around Christmas
- Incidents of burglary and theft are much more likely around the holidays because a) people give and acquire expensive gifts b) office theft increases due to more cashflow coming in and the pressure to buy presents and c) cybercrimes like hacking into bank accounts and stealing credit card go up because banks don’t monitor spending habits as closely and consumers don’t monitor their spending.
- Incremental weather causes a lot of hazards – to your home, your body, and your car. Activities like shoveling snow, walking on ice, or climbing a ladder to hang Christmas lights can all lead to injured body parts. And the unfavorable weather can lead to pipes bursting. Frozen pipes are a common issue that accounts for up to 20% of property damage claims
- Car accident claims are what keep insurance agents the busiest. This is due to a spike in drunk drivers, road trips, and icy roads.
- Sexual harassment in the workplace also spikes a little which puts businesses in a legal debacle. This is, in part, due to holiday work parties where there tends to be mistletoe, alcohol, and bad decisions.
- Manufactures are pressed to turnover insane amounts of inventory which often leads to mistakes in product design.
Bottom line: Christmas is in a few days so this article would have probably been more helpful to you two months ago. But hey, insurance agents make mistakes, too! From the Ashlin Hadden Insurance Agency to you, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!