Midwest Tornadoes Cause at Least $325M in Losses

May 8, 2003

Tornadoes that swept across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Tennessee earlier this week could cost insurers at least $325 million — making it one of the top five costliest tornado events, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

The preliminary estimate is based on an III survey of insurers. Costs could rise as follow-on storm systems travel eastward. Insurance disaster personnel and CAT teams are now on the ground and continue to assess the damage.

The tornadoes, some with winds as high as 200 mph, damaged homes as well as businesses and motor vehicles. Standard business, homeowners and auto policies will cover wind damage from the tornadoes, according to the III.

The largest tornado-related loss in U.S. history was in May, 1999, when tornadoes and storms struck 18 states including Kansas and Oklahoma, costing insurers $1.6 billion (in 2002 dollars). Prior to 1999, the largest tornado-related loss was in 1974, when a 17-state, multiple tornado, event including Xenia, Ohio, caused insured losses of more than $1.5 billion (in 2002 dollars).

Official insurance industry property loss estimates from the tornadoes will be available from Insurance Services Office (ISO) in the weeks to come.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.