Oklahoma storm damage losses in millions and still mounting

The two recent storms that raked central Oklahoma left millions of dollars in damage, and could combine to be one of the most expensive catastrophes in years.

BY DON MECOY Published: May 19, 2010
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Tornadoes are deadlier, but hail is more expensive.

While the May 10 tornadoes will produce insured losses in the tens of millions of dollars, one industry observer expects Sunday’s hailstorm losses could be even greater.

"Tornadoes are kind of hit and miss,” said Jerry Johns, president of the Southwest Insurance Information Service in Austin, Texas. "With a hailstorm, it’s a very concentrated weather event that affects block after block after block.”

Combined, the two storms created "a rather significant series of catastrophes,” Johns said.

Preliminary claims figures from the May 10 tornadoes project losses in the millions, said Marc Young, Oklahoma assistant insurance commissioner. Johns believes the initial storm will produce losses in the "tens of millions of dollars.”

Neither would offer an estimate on the hail damage, noting that claims are just beginning to be filed by property owners.

Johns said the twostorms likely will be the second- most expensive in the 25 years he has been in the insurance business in this region. Johns, who tracks the insurance industry in Oklahoma and Texas, said the storms probably will be topped only by the destruction of Hurricane Ike, which ripped through Galveston and Houston in 2008.

Ongoing Coverage: May 10 tornadoes


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