Mass. Officials: Residents Have Filed 28,500 Irene-Related Claims

Massachusetts residents have filed claims for more than $90 million in damages resulting from Tropical Storm Irene, regulators announced.

Officials with the state Division of Insurance said an estimated 28,500 claims for losses to homes, vehicles and other property have been filed with insurers since Irene struck the state more than a month ago.

Regulators urged residents who are having problems filing a claim to contact the division for help.

“Dealing with an insurance company after a natural disaster can be a confusing chore during a difficult time,” Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, said in a statement.

The announcement is the latest in ongoing efforts to quantify the extent of the damage done by Irene and other recent storms.

Natural disasters in the first six months of 2011 cost the United States $27 billion, including $17.3 billion in insured losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). Those totals did not include damages from more recent storms including Irene, which III has projected could climb as high as $5 billion.

State Farm announced recently that it has paid out $5 billion this year on nearly a million claims tied to weather-related catastrophes.

Last month, Progressive reported losing $37 million to catastrophes in August and Allstate announced $865 million in estimated pretax catastrophe losses in July and August.

Massachusetts regulators say the regions of that state hit hardest by Irene included Plymouth County, where residents filed more than 4,300 claims totaling $14 million, and Bristol County, where 4,000 claims for nearly $14 million have been filed. Also struggling was Norfolk County, which saw more than 5,300 claims on Massachusetts auto insurance, homeowner and other policies totaling more than $18 million.

About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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