As the storms of the south begin to relent, residents are beginning the long, arduous path towards recovery. Insurers have assessed the extent of the damage and are reporting insured losses could cost billions of dollars. The recovery efforts will be nothing short of massive.
The National Weather System has accounted for nearly 200 tornadoes having formed during the worst of the storms – the highest number of tornadoes that has occurred in the region in over 50 years. Coupled with hail and wind storms, the damage throughout the Southeast is much more widespread than originally expected.
The cost of the disaster is estimated to be at $5 billion but several areas still remain uninvestigated by insurers. The overall cost is likely to climb as additional areas are assessed and could climb as high as $30 billion. While such a high estimate is reserved for the worst case scenario, insurers are preparing themselves for what they find in the wake of the storms.
Bill Davis of the Insurance Information Institute likens the damage caused by the storms to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the mood is heavy amongst residents. Tuscaloosa was one of the cities most affected by the storms, causing damages in excess of $100 million. The damage is so catastrophic that claims adjusters are unable to access certain properties.
The affected areas have been declared disaster sites by the federal government, enabling state officials to draw upon federal funds to help recovery efforts.