State’s Tornado-Related Insurance Claims Pass $1 Billion Mark

Missouri insurers have paid out more than $1 billion in claims resulting from the tornado that struck the city of Joplin in May, state regulators announced Tuesday.

Tornado insurance claims countsMissourians had filed about 17,000 claims as of Sept. 1, with the largest number—more than 8,000—involving homeowner policies, followed by more than 6,500 private auto claims.

The largest amount of payments received, however, has been for commercial property claims, which accounted for nearly $524 million in payments on about 1,870 claims.

John M. Huff, who heads the Missouri Department of Insurance, said coverage providers have honored claims at a rate of about $10 million a day since the tornado tore through the region on May 22.

“Joplin’s recovery requires a solid public-private partnership, and the insurance industry is clearly leading the private sector efforts,” Huff said in a statement.

About 140 people died and thousands of buildings and vehicles were damaged by the tornado, which has been called the most destructive in decades. Huff said Tuesday that he expects payments from the tornado to near $2 billion once all claims are settled.

After commercial property claims, the second-highest dollar figure to date has been paid out on policies for private residences—about $462 million—followed by private auto claims of roughly $54 million, commercial vehicle claims worth nearly $3.7 million and claims on other types of policies adding up to more than $10 million.

Huff urged consumers to contact his department with any concerns or questions about homeowners coverage, Missouri auto insurance or other policies.

Earlier this week, Huff hailed a new state law aimed at making it easier for coverage providers to respond to storm-damaged areas in order to assist residents with claims.

The legislation bars local governments from enforcing ordinances that require insurers to get business licenses or other documentation before operating mobile claims centers in the wake of an emergency.


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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