Texas Spring Storms Caused More Than $1.5B in Losses

November 13, 2015

An insurance group says spring storms across Texas caused more than $1.5 billion in property losses.

April through June typically marks the stormy season for the state, but in March of this year multiple severe thunderstorms rolled in across the state producing large hail, tornadoes and heavy rainfall.

The Insurance Council of Texas on Thursday provided the damage estimate for April and May storms. After the spring storms, Texas experienced what meteorologists called a “flash drought” followed by Memorial Day weekend flooding in parts of Central Texas that claimed more than two dozen lives. In early June, flooding continued from the Red River to the Texas coast.

Council spokesman Mark Hanna says paid residential property losses in April and May were close to $900 million from 114,000 claims. These losses did not include business or auto claims. The same months last year had about 72,000 claims and $650 million in paid losses.

Texas homeowners and businesses reported almost 8,000 flood claims to the National Flood Insurance Program from the spring storms.

In comparison, the total number of flood claims from all of Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma for the same time period was 579.

Windstorm losses in both April and May were much higher than 2013 and 2014,” said
Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. “There wasn’t one catastrophic storm that caused all of the damage. It was a non-stop pattern of severe storms that literally blanketed the entire state.”

Council officials say, with 95 percent of the claims settled, Texas flood losses to homes and businesses topped $400 million. Texas insurers say losses from vehicles in floodwaters added $300 million.

Greg Carbin, meteorologist with the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma,
described our springtime weather as “incredibly extreme.”

Carbin said, “The combination of severe hail, tornadoes, and especially heavy rainfall, was devastating in some areas. Above normal severe weather activity was most prominent over northwest and central portions of the state. Historic rain and flooding extended across many areas.”

In June, the rainfall suddenly stopped and by the end of the summer, wild
fires started erupting in north and central Texas with the Bastrop area getting hit the worst with the loss of nearly 60 homes.

“As soon as fall arrived, the drought-like conditions turned to another round of severe
flooding in much of central and southeast Texas. Record rainfall flooded homes and submerged vehicles in the Austin and Houston areas,” Hanna said. “Total auto insurance losses for 2015 could reach $1 billion.”

The Insurance Council of Texas is the nation’s largest state insurance trade association.

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