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Oklahoma Tornado Claims May Top $1 Billion

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 08 Aug 2013 by Neilson

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OK tornado claimsInsurers have paid out more than $1 billion from 91,000 claims from two spates of May tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma, according to the state's insurance department.

"These numbers are staggering," said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak in a written statement. "We've topped $1 billion in payments and the rebuilding is just beginning. We expected to see these amounts and they continue to go up every week."

The Oklahoma Insurance Department says there are some policyholders still resolving issues with their insurers --- a common occurrence following major catastrophes, the OID said.

Total payouts from insurance claims has risen more than $300 million since the end of June when the OID estimated claims were in the ballpark of $688 million. At that time claims numbered about 75,500.

Claims stem from four days of massive and powerful tornadoes from two separate storm systems that swept through the state May 19 and 20, and May 30 and 31. The first system bought an EF-4 tornado through the town of Shawnee, Okla., which is about 40 miles east of Oklahoma City, and an EF-5 tornado through the town of Moore, which is about 11 miles south of Oklahoma City. The second system spawned an EF-5 twister near El Reno, Okla., that the National Weather Service believed to be the largest ever recorded in the country.

The OID has previously said it will be closely monitoring insurer solvency in the wake of the tornadoes and has mandated insurers make regular claims reports, which is OID's way of keeping an eye on developments.

The top five writers of homeowners insurance in 2012 in Oklahoma were: State Farm Group, with market share of 27.76%; Farmers Insurance Group, with 17.78%; Liberty Mutual Insurance Cos., with 7.25%; Allstate Insurance Group, with 6.27%; and USAA Group, with 6.07%, according to BestLink, A.M. Best Co.'s online financial system (