State's Tornado Damage Estimates Vary

Article excerpt

The estimates vary -- $225 million in damages, $500 million in damages; 1,000 homes destroyed to 3,000 homes destroyed.

The numbers reflecting the amount of damage from Monday's tornadoes may change regularly in the days to come, and perhaps the most important thing to remember is that they're really not all that important -- just big.

According to the Southwestern Insurance Information Service, initial estimates had a $225 million price tag for repairs. But Wednesday, the Insurance Information Institute issued a release stating that based on earlier storms of a similar magnitude, the price tag is likely to exceed $500 million. State Farm issued a statement saying their losses alone would amount to $148 million, including auto damage. State Farm holds one quarter of the auto and homeowners insurance market in Oklahoma so a quick extrapolation would indicate nearly $600 million in damages. While the estimates may seem broad ranging, they are not compared with estimates made the first week after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Early estimates of bombing-related repairs ranged from $50 million to more than $1 billion. In the end, insured losses ended up at $125 million, according to Steve Goldstein with the Insurance Information Institute. Goldstein pointed out the figure only includes insured losses and would likely not include damage to infrastructure. Government entities normally self-insure their property, he said. He also pointed out that 98 percent of homeowners insure their dwellings, so the insurance industry will have a greater involvement in the recovery than it did four years ago. According to the institute, in addition to the estimated 2,000 to 3,000 homes now thought to have been destroyed, 8,000 more were damaged. …

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