It’s only mid-January, but for many Alaskans this has already become a winter to remember. Cordova has made national headlines with its record snowfall. Haines and Valdez have had comparable dumps of the fluffy stuff. Anchorage and Fairbanks are on pace for new annual records. Even Seattle is expecting 10 inches today. If it isn’t snowing where you are, it’s likely bitter cold. Schools are closed today in Bethel because the city’s sewer lines are frozen, and even down here in the Alaska banana-belt, Juneau’s temps have hovered around zero for several days.
Not surprisingly, the harsh weather is causing a rash of insurance claims. Roofs have collapsed or been damaged by snow loads, and sewer lines have frozen, causing some unpleasant claims. When winter sets in like this, employees suffer snow-related injuries and snowplows inevitably cause minor damage to personal autos or mailboxes.
As we all know, tough winters are just part of life in Alaska. But at APEI, where we see winter-related insurance claims, we also see that many are avoidable. When working outdoors, please be cautious and avoid hazardous situations. Wear your “yak traks” if you have them. Keep your roofs clear of heavy snow. Drive carefully.
We can’t control the weather, and this is Alaska, after all. But we can be aware of weather-related risks and do our utmost to avoid accidents. And if you have an accident, whatever it may be, please report it to us as soon as possible, and we will guarantee you the very best help and service we can provide.
Let’s hope the worst of the winter of 2011-12 is now behind us. Stay safe, stay warm, and from all of us at APEI, Happy New Year.