Insurance industry - Property loss from storms third worst ever

Thursday, May 22, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Tornadoes that cut through 18 states this month were the third-worst ever in terms of property damaged or destroyed, insurance industry officials say in estimating the losses so far at $1.55 billion.

An estimated 429,000 auto, residential and commercial claims are expected to be filed largely due to the 498 May tornadoes the National Weather Service has tallied so far, according to the New Jersey-based Insurance Services Office Inc., which tracks claims nationwide. Other claims relate to wind, hail and flooding damage.

Thirteen of the twisters left more than 40 dead, including 18 in Missouri.

Tennessee has reported insured losses of $310 million, Missouri $275 million on an estimated 62,000 claims. But the Missouri Insurance Department says a more realistic estimate is at least $400 million, with the damage still being compiled.

In addition to insured losses, Missouri residents had $3 million more in out-of-pocket payouts for deductibles or uninsured property, said Scott Lakin, the state's insurance director. Half the Missouri claims are for damaged homes, the other half for autos.

Illinois is among the six hardest hit states with $75 million in estimated preliminary insured damage, the ISO says.

Estimates of this month's damage is based on a survey of at least 70 percent of insurers writing residential, commercial and auto policies. Life and health insurance claims are not included.

The highest recorded insured loss in a windstorm catastrophe was a $2.2 billion loss in April 2001 that affected 16 states, followed by a $1.7 billion loss from a 17-state event in April of last year, the ISO said.

The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Tornadoes that cut through 18 states this month were the third-worst ever in terms of property damaged or destroyed, insurance industry officials say in estimating the losses so far at $1.55 billion.

An estimated 429,000 auto, residential and commercial claims are expected to be filed largely due to the 498 May tornadoes the National Weather Service has tallied so far, according to the New Jersey-based Insurance Services Office Inc., which tracks claims nationwide. Other claims relate to wind, hail and flooding damage.

Thirteen of the twisters left more than 40 dead, including 18 in Missouri.

Tennessee has reported insured losses of $310 million, Missouri $275 million on an estimated 62,000 claims. But the Missouri Insurance Department says a more realistic estimate is at least $400 million, with the damage still being compiled.

In addition to insured losses, Missouri residents had $3 million more in out-of-pocket payouts for deductibles or uninsured property, said Scott Lakin, the state's insurance director. Half the Missouri claims are for damaged homes, the other half for autos.

Illinois is among the six hardest hit states with $75 million in estimated preliminary insured damage, the ISO says.

Estimates of this month's damage is based on a survey of at least 70 percent of insurers writing residential, commercial and auto policies. Life and health insurance claims are not included.

The highest recorded insured loss in a windstorm catastrophe was a $2.2 billion loss in April 2001 that affected 16 states, followed by a $1.7 billion loss from a 17-state event in April of last year, the ISO said.

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