May 6, 2004

Tornadoes Cost Missouri Insurers $500 Million

Severe weather is not uncommon in Missouri during the month of May. It can make the state’s residents a little nervous, but none more so than the insurance industry, which is still finalizing payments on an estimated $500 million in pay outs stemming from the 2003 tornadoes in the state.

Missouri’s 30 largest auto and homeowner insurers in last May’s severe-storm areas paid out more than $400 million for damages, and the state’s overall losses will certainly top half a billion dollars according to Department of Insurance Director Scott Lakin.

“The devastation from tornadoes May 4 – 11 spawned by a stalled ‘super cell’, clearly emerged as Missouri’s second-most costly insured disaster ever, ranking behind only the April 2001 hailstorm in St. Louis County that cost insurers an estimated $1 billion in insured losses.

The serious flooding of the 1990s largely did not involve private insurance.

Overall, the 30 largest insurers reported 75,385 damage claims that week from all 115 Missouri counties.

Scotland County had 55 claims for a total of $81,169. Clark County had nearly a quarter of a million dollars in claims and Lewis County, the hardest hit of local counties, received nearly $5 million from insurers with 427 total claims filed.

Clay County suffered the most severe losses in Missouri with more than 6,000 claims totaling $56.4 million.

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