Dallas County Tornadoes Caused $2 Billion in Damage, Insurance Council Says

DALLAS — An insurance industry group says the nine tornadoes that struck the Dallas area during a Sunday night outbreak caused an estimated $2 billion in insured losses.

The Insurance Council of Texas said the estimate, which it called “pretty conservative,” makes the tornado outbreak the costliest in state history. It exceeds the $1.2 billion in insured losses caused by a Dec. 26, 2015, tornado that killed 10 people in eastern Dallas suburbs.

The National Weather Service says the strongest tornado Sunday hit the heavily populated north Dallas area, where the EF3 twister had peak winds of 140 mph (225 kph) and was on the ground for more than 15 miles (25 kilometers).

The other Texas tornadoes had wind speeds ranging from 80 mph to 135 mph (130 kph to 218 kph).

Four people died late Sunday and early Monday in storms in Arkansas and Oklahoma, but the Insurance Council said there were no fatalities in the Dallas County storms.

The Insurance Council said the tornadoes caused a cumulative 30,000 auto and home claims. “Commercial and business claims projections are still coming in at this time and the financial impact may likely rise,” the organization said in a press release.

The Dallas County tornado outbreak was costliest tornado event in Texas history, the Insurance Council said. By comparison, the Garland/Rowlett tornado on Dec. 26, 2015 resulted in insured losses of $1.2 billion dollars. Sunday’s tornadoes extended over a wider geographic span. “The multiple tornadoes uprooted decades old trees, brought down power lines, made many roads impassable and immeasurably changed the landscape of some neighborhoods,” the Insurance Council said.

Farmers, State Farm and USAA set up claims operations centers in the Lowes parking lot on Forest Lane and Inwood Road while Allstate and Nationwide set up mobile operations on Forest and Highway 635, the Insurance Council said. Both mobile centers provide another way for customers to file claims and ask questions about the claims process. As roadways became passable, insurance agents and claims adjusters began inspecting homes and assessing damages, the organization said.

The group warned storm victims to be wary when selecting a contractor for repairs. “During a time of great emotional, mental and financial stress, such decisions are best made with a calculated approach. When possible, use local contractors, check references and do not pay for services upfront,” the Insurance Council said.

— Claims Journal editor Jim Sams added to this report.

About the photo: Women stand outside a house damaged by a tornado in the Preston Hollow section of Dallas, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/LM Otero)