Department of Insurance Expects Costs From May Tornadoes To Nearly Double For Missouri Providers

Jul 10, 2019

In May, a wave of severe weather hit the Midwest, including deadly tornadoes which touched down in Carl Junction, Golden City, and Jefferson City. The resulting damage to residential and commercial properties is expected to bring a large loss for insurance providers in Missouri, according to the Department of Insurance. 

Reports show a cost of more than $29 million in residential damage. Insured losses across the state through the end of June totalled over $53 million, but the department expects that number to climb as high as $139 million, according to information provided by the companies on those claims.

Just over 60% of the claims have been closed. Of that, 70% of residential property claims have been closed to date, Nelson says. 

Director of Market Relations, Angela Nelson says the department has a role overseeing the functions of insurance in the state, but they have the power to do things differently in times of emergency. 

“We do have the authority to initiate what are called data calls, where we can collect special types of information from insurance companies in our market to have a sense of what is going on with a particular event,” Nelson says.  

They monitor the “scope of the disaster” in cases like these to watch for any economic issues or financial impairment, she says, while also keeping an eye for consumer protection.

Most of the remaining claims are commercial, according to Nelson, which can last for a while due to the long-term impact of natural disasters on businesses and their “unique level” of coverage.

“We know that insurance coverage is one of the ways that we give that financial fuel to communities so that they can recover after disaster,” Nelson says.

She says the response is similar to how insurance companies reacted after the 2011 Joplin tornado, and the swift response to the disaster is commendable. 

“I think that it is a tremendous positive sign that at this point we have probably between 35 and 40 percent of the claims that were anticipated to be paid have been paid,” she said.