In late May, a small town in Missouri known as Joplin was ravaged by a powerful tornado. The damage caused to the town left many without homes or work and proved to be the most costly disaster in the state’s history. Federal agencies, insurance companies and emergency services rallied together to help those in need and steer the city toward recovery, but the road is long and the costs of recovery continue to mount. Officials with the Missouri Department of Insurance now say that the disaster is responsible for the largest insurance payout to date.
At the end of last month, the department of insurance reported that insurance companies had paid a total of $509 million in claims for the damages caused by the tornado. That amount, however, did not mark the end of claims coming in from property owners and those hurt in the disaster. As insurers continue to work in the wake of the calamity, they are being confronted with more and more claims daily.
After the tornado tore through Joplin, risk modeling firm Eqecat arrived in the state to assess the total cost of the damage. Analysts estimated that the total cost of the disaster could top $3 billion. John Huff, Missouri’s Insurance Commissioner says that the actual total will only be slightly less, coming in at $2 billion.
“This is the largest insurance event in Missouri history, and these numbers confirm that the insurance industry is playing a vital role in recovery,” Huff said in a statement to the Joplin Globe.
If accurate, the Department of Insurance’s estimates will far surpass the state’s previous insurance payout record of $800,000 after a hailstorm in 2000.