Claims Counts, Payments Rising from Mississippi Hailstorm

A vehicle is hauled to a repair shop in Pearl, Miss. on March 18 following a hailstorm that hit communities throughout central Mississippi. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis) A vehicle is hauled to a repair shop in Pearl, Miss. on March 18 following a hailstorm that hit communities throughout central Mississippi. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A hailstorm that hit Jackson, Miss. and surrounding suburbs on March 18 has produced 40,000 homeowners and automobile claims, says the Mississippi Insurance Department.

The MID says carriers report they have paid out more than $25 million in damages on nearly 10,000 homeowners claims and more than 31,000 auto claims from the storm, which dumped hail larger than a baseball on 18 counties. Reports say private and state-owned properties, hospitals and school were damaged. 

The total claims count is expected to exceed 60,000 when insurance companies update their figures this week, says the insurance department.

“The department is very pleased with the way the companies are responding to consumers and processing claims," says Mike Chaney, state insurance commissioner, in a statement. "We have had very few complaints about the claims process.”

State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson says the leading insurer in Mississippi has received about 15,790 auto claims and 6,575 homeowners claims. A few mobile claims sites in the region remain up and running, he adds.

Aon Benfield says storm activity in the eastern U.S. during the week of March 18 spawned a variety of damaging weather from the Southeast to the Northeast, and likely caused over $100 million in insured losses in Mississippi alone.

Gadson says State Farm has received more than 46,000 claims in Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama from this spat of weather activity.

The top personal-lines insurer in Mississippi is State Farm, with a 2012 market share of 26.3 percent, according to SNL Financial. Southern Farm Bureau is next with a 14.4 percent market share, followed by Allstate, with 9.9 percent; Nationwide, with 6.6 percent; and Progressive, with 6.1 percent.

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