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Oklahoma wildfires caused estimated $20 million in insured losses

BY DON MECOY Modified: April 14, 2009 at 12:56 pm •  Published: April 14, 2009
Oklahoma’s insured property losses from last week’s wildfires that destroyed more than 100 homes could reach $20 million, a regional insurance expert said today.

“Once it’s all said and done, it will probably be as high as $20 million,” said Jerry Johns, president of Southwestern Insurance Information Services in Austin, Texas. “That’s a projection right now, but we’re looking at that as a real possibility.”

Johns said property owners have been somewhat slow to file claims, but he said insurance experts are expecting those claims to be “catastrophic and huge.”

“We encourage anyone who does have damage to get in touch with their agent or insurance company as quickly as possible,” Johns said. “There are going to be hundreds upon hundreds of claims statewide. There will be enough adjusters to handle claims, but the sooner you get into the queue, the sooner you’re going to have an adjuster contact you.”

The state Insurance Department declared an emergency, which clears the way for insurance companies to bring in out-of-state adjusters to handle the workload with temporary state licensing.

Johns said a better estimate of insured losses would be available within a week, but “it won’t be significantly lower than $20 million.”


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