Damage from the deadly tornado that struck Moore on Monday could surpass $2 billion in insured losses, state Insurance Commissioner John Doak estimated Wednesday.
Doak said it is possible the tornado that ripped through parts of Newcastle, south Oklahoma City and Moore could be worse than the one that struck Joplin, Mo., about two years ago, causing more than $2 billion in insured losses.
The Joplin twister left a smaller trail of destruction than Monday's tornado, which left an extensive damage zone stretching more than 17 miles.
Monday's tornado was on the ground for 50 minutes, damaging or destroying as many as 13,000 homes, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said Wednesday.
Authorities have yet to present concrete numbers for how many homes were damaged or destroyed. The view from the air shows whole neighborhoods obliterated, and gouged earth littered with splintered wood and pulverized cars.
Dan Ramsey, president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Oklahoma, said a damage estimate in the low billions is “not surprising.”
“Certainly it's in the hundreds of millions,” he said. “I suppose seeing projections from similar disasters, it could stretch to a billion” dollars or more.
More than 4,000 insurance claims have been filed so far at First Baptist Church in Moore, where representatives of all major insurance companies are on hand to help customers.
“It's very busy out here,” Doak said. “There's so many people getting advance checks that we had to have banks here.”
Doak said the site at 301 NE 27 allows people affected by the storms to get help they need from their insurance companies. He said it is the result of years of planning after studying the response to other disasters across the nation.
“It's really paying off,” he said. “We were ready.”
The Associated Press