Final insurance damage estimates for Colorado’s 2009 summer storm season has been tallied at $1.4 billion, making it the most expensive in state history, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
According to the association’s figures, one July storm ranked as the state’s most expensive insured disaster in actual insurance claims paid out with insured losses totaling $768 million in claims resulting from damage to vehicles and homes. The updated damage estimate makes it the most expensive catastrophe season in Colorado, topping a 45-minute hail storm that caused $625 million in damage on July 11, 1990. When adjusted for inflation, the July 11, 1990 hailstorm still tops the July 20, 2009 storm if compared in today’s dollars.
RMIIA estimates the final insurance damage total for the season’s three catastrophic storms more than doubled from an earlier damage estimate of $617 million. Most claims are now settled and those affected by the hail, wind and tornadoes typically have one year to file insurance claims. This estimate does not include commercial claims from businesses. With the extremely large volume of losses, claim filing and repairs continued for months after the storms. The damage resulted in more than 200,000 auto and property claims.
The 2009 storm damage includes a week of wild weather from June 6-15 that caused an estimated $353 million in damage to property and cars in Aurora, Parker, Centennial and Ft. Collins, the July 20 hail and windstorm that resulted in an estimated $768 million in auto and homeowner claims in Wheat Ridge, Lakewood and Arvada, and a $233 million hail storm that pounded Pueblo on July 29.
“As we head into the 2010 severe weather season, this record price tag on last year’s devastation is a wakeup call that we can’t just cross our fingers and hope we don’t land in Mother Nature’s path,” said Carole Walker, RMIIA executive director. “Lessons learned from 2009 are that we need to take preventative steps, like considering impact resistant roofing, to protect our property and consider how much insurance coverage you have to fix your car, repair or rebuild your home and replace your personal belongings.”
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