Texas is dealing with approximately $1.2 billion in insured losses so far from 9 confirmed tornadoes that struck the metro-Dallas area on Dec. 26 and killed 11 people, according to preliminary estimates from the Insurance Council of Texas.
The group based its estimates, in part, on catastrophe teams sent to assess damage and claims from insurers including State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, The Hartford, and GEICO, according to Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas.
So far, the count is up to 2,000 structures – including 1,500 homes – either damaged or destroyed. A high number of cars and trucks also sustained varying levels of damage, Hanna said.
Not included in the insured losses estimate thus far: fallout from a blizzard that slammed into the state’s panhandle and west Texas, shutting down highways and leaving thousands of homeowners without power. The combined effect of both weather events left thousands of travelers stranded at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and other locations during a busy holiday season.
Hanna said that his group’s insured loss estimate comes from conversations from insurance company catastrophe teams, agents, insurance adjusters, claims managers, emergency management officials and city officials. Also factored in: data from affected cities and the Texas Department of Insurance.
Hanna credited police with helping to protect neighborhoods affected by the storms from further trouble, particularly those seeking financial gain from the post-storm aftermath.
“The law enforcement [officials] are doing a great job in keeping the riff-raff out of neighborhoods that have been effected,” Hanna said. “Every time we see weather catastrophes like this in Texas we see out-of-state roofers and building contractors flood into the area. We see public adjusters who paper the front doors with their business cards, and we are aware of attorneys who use runners to basically tell homeowners” to avoid filing a claim and use their services instead.
Hanna added that insurers and others are trying to prevent issues this time around, “so people can turn to their insurance company for help and assistance, and get the money needed from their policies that will put them back on their feet.”