Oklahoma Hailstorms Rack Up $75 Million in Damages

April 29, 2004

Hailstorms that hit central Oklahoma a week ago caused more than $75 million in damage, according to preliminary estimates released by the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

The Associated Press reported that an estimate of $75 million to $100 million represents the amount of money insurance companies are expected to pay to customers, according to Insurance Commissioner Carroll Fisher.

That figure does not include damage to homes and vehicles that were not insured or the amount of money customers paid in deductibles.

“The figures are proving what we already knew, that this will be an expensive storm,” Fisher said.

The preliminary damage estimate also doesn’t include business and government entities that insure their own property.

A final figure on the insured losses from last week’s storm won’t be available for several months, said David Meuser, a spokesman for the department.

Last week’s storm was one of the most expensive to hit the state in the past decade, according to figures from the Insurance Services Office Inc.

In northern Oklahoma hail was blamed for the loss of thousands of acres of wheat. In Oklahoma City, hail that piled up on the highway caused extensive damage to cars and structures across the metro-area. Tulsa and the Panhandle were also hit with hail in last week’s storms.

The damage is only a fraction of what insurance companies paid to their customers who had property damaged in last year’s tornadoes and storms that struck the state from May 3-11 and generated more than $1 billion in insured losses.

A May 8, 2003 tornado tore through the massive Oklahoma City General Motors Assembly Plant, causing about $100 million in insured damage.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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