Wyo. and Colo. Insurers See Nearly $285 Million in Storm Losses

Monsoonal rain and hail the size of golf balls caused about $285 million in damage last week in Colorado and Wyoming, according to estimates released Tuesday by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

An estimated 50,000 loss reports have been filed with insurance companies in both states as a result of the storms, including 32,000 auto claims and another 17,200 under homeowner policies, the association reported.

Carole Walker, executive director of the association, said those numbers could increase as people assess the fallout from the storms.

“People do have up to a year to file or reopen their claims,” Walker said in a telephone interview.

Severe weather hammered both states last week, with downpours and hail across Colorado flooding streets and vehicles and thunderstorms in Wyoming shredding trees and dropping massive hail stones.

Walker said vehicle damage, particularly in the Cheyenne area, was particularly bad because a storm hit around rush hour on Tuesday.

Many insurers have set up emergency centers in the hardest hit areas to accelerate the claims process and help customers get back to normal, Walker said.

The storms caused an estimated $164.8 million in insured damages in Colorado, where residents have reportedly filed 17,200 car and 12,600 homeowner claims.

The association—a trade group whose members include major providers in both states—based those estimates in part on claims data and projections from Colorado auto insurance providers, Walker said.

In Wyoming, policyholders have lodged more than 15,000 auto claims and 4,600 claims under their homeowner policies, according to estimates.

The lone bright spot for many storm victims is that comprehensive car insurance and homeowner policies will protect them against losses, the association says.

Walker said the storms “totaled a lot of vehicles” in the Cheyenne area and trapped some Colorado motorists in their cars, prompting emergency rescues.

She said she does not expect loss reports to climb significantly in the two states, particularly for auto damages, which policyholders usually take care of promptly.

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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