Losses from Oklahoma's May storms likely to top $1 billion

Insurance companies will pay out about $595 million to cover losses from tornadoes that swept through central Oklahoma last month. And that total is expected to grow.

BY DON MECOY Modified: June 3, 2010 at 6:21 am •  Published: June 3, 2010
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st insurance companies evaluate losses in a geographic area over a number of years to determine premiums, and catastrophic losses may be assessed based on a period of up to a decade, Young said.

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland said state-based companies will be harder hit by the May storm losses than regional or national insurance companies that collect premiums in states that haven't been hit by damaging weather. Many companies also balance claims losses with investment gains, Holland said.

Oklahomans already pay among the nation's highest average premium for personal property insurance, mainly because of damage from high winds and hail, Holland said.

"Our storms are really something here,” said Holland, who recently bought an Oklahoma City home that was severely damaged by the May 16 hailstorm.

A state law bars insurance companies from dropping homeowners' coverage after a single claim, and Holland said the state's "robust market” allows consumers to shop around for providers.

The estimated insured losses from the May 10 storm includes about $475 million in personal property damage, $40 million in commercial losses and $80 million in vehicle damage. These damage estimates do not include losses involving such as uninsured publicly owned properties and utilities or agricultural, homes and businesses insured through the National Flood Insurance Program, Johns said.

ISO reported the average claim from the May 10 storms for personal losses was $9,500, for commercial losses was $8,888 and for auto damage was $2,285.

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HIGHEST INSURED CATASTROPHE LOSSES, 2009

The states are listed by their ranking and

estimated insured loss.

1. Texas, $2.458 billion

2. Colorado, $1.319 billion

3. Georgia, $822 million

4. Kentucky, $777 million

5. Oklahoma, $605 million

Catastrophes are declared when the insured loss reaches at least $25 million and affects a significant number of policyholders and insurers.

Source: ISO's Property Claims Services unit

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