The Missouri Department of Insurance announced Tuesday that insurers have paid about $1.1 billion in claims for damages stemming from a tornado that tore through the state in May.
Coverage providers have made good on a total of nearly 17,000 claims filed under homeowners, commercial property and Missouri car insurance policies.
The tornado that struck the city of Joplin on May 22, killing more than 150 people, was the deadliest since modern record-keeping began in 1950, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Department Director John Huff called the more than $1 billion in payouts “a significant reinvestment in the Joplin community.”
Private auto insurance claims accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total claims count, but only about 5 percent of the total amount that has been paid out under all coverage types.
The average private auto claim related to the Joplin tornado was more than $8,300, which is relatively high compared with the average auto claim size that was seen after the tornadoes that hit Ohio and Massachusetts at around the same time.
Comprehensive insurance—which is an optional coverage type, unless required as a condition of an auto loan—is the only type that protects against damages caused by adverse weather conditions.
Wind damage from natural disasters is a major cause of property loss, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The institute reports that hurricanes and tropical storms were to blame for 44 percent of all catastrophe losses from 1991 to 2010. Tornadoes, which often accompany hurricanes, ranked second, making up 30 percent of those losses over that period.
Insurers typically define a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and impacts a significant number of policyholders and coverage providers, according to III.
Missouri regulators expect to have another 1,400 claims filed by residents.
To learn more about this and other safety and coverage issues, readers can go to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/missouri/ where they will find informative resource pages and a rate-comparison generator that can quickly evaluate their coverage options.