Dallas records costliest tornado loss in Texas history

10/24/2019


After the National Weather Service confirmed that a total of nine tornadoes touched down in and around Dallas County, ICT has estimated insured damages at $2 billion dollars. 

 

Preliminary projected estimates include over 30,000 auto and home claims. Commercial and business claims projections are still coming in at this time and the financial impact may likely rise. This makes the October 20th Dallas tornado outbreak the costliest tornado event in Texas history. By comparison, the Garland/Rowlett tornado of December 26, 2015 resulted in insured losses of $1.2 billion dollars. Sunday’s tornadoes, however, extended over a wider geographic span impacting a variety of homes and commercial property. The multiple tornadoes uprooted decades old trees, brought down power lines, made many roads impassable and immeasurably changed the landscape of some neighborhoods.

 

Clean up has already started in many areas to remove debris and damaged vehicles. Cities are responding accordingly: “We have had a tremendous outpouring of people wanting to help the people impacted by this tragedy,” said Richardson Mayor Paul Voelker. “We do have a lot of needs for the victims of this disaster, so we are mobilizing a Volunteer Reception Center to make those connections and leverage all of the resources available to help get our community back to normal as quickly as possible.”

 

Thankfully, despite the large scale property damage, there were no fatalities. Survivors described the fear of hearing the massive tornado and trying to find a safe place to hide. One Dallas resident said she and her daughter hid in a bathroom, gripping the doorknob to keep the door closed. After the winds passed, she emerged to find severe damage to her home and a coffee shop’s sign, once located a mile away, was now in her garage. But a common reflection from many residents is the relief that there were no fatalities. “We can rebuild our home but we can’t replace our lives.”

 

The insurance industry mobilized claims operations centers in the field with Farmers, State Farm and USAA meeting customers in the Lowes parking lot on Forest Lane and Inwood Road while Allstate and Nationwide set up mobile operations on Forest and 635. Both mobile centers provide another way for customers to file claims and ask questions about the claims process.  As roadways became passable, insurance agents and claims adjusters began inspecting homes and assessing damages.  In many cases, adjusters were also providing preliminary additional living expense payments to customers giving some relief for residents needing temporary housing and clothing.

 

With an impending rainstorm expected in North Texas later today, ICT urges residents to make temporary repairs to reduce further damage.  It’s important to keep receipts, take photos of all damage and keep records of conversations with your insurance adjuster and contractor.

 

Finally, while most contractors strive to serve the needs of their customer, it’s important to exercise caution in hiring repair services. During a time of great emotional, mental and financial stress, such decisions are best made with a calculated approach. When possible, use local contractors, check references and do not pay for services upfront.

 

Texans are resilient and ICT applauds the resolve inherent in the residents of this great state.

 

ICT offers resources including, “What to do after a loss” and other insurance related information at www.insurancecouncil.org.

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