Catastrophe risk modeler Risk Management Solutions put insured losses from the Moore, Okla. tornado at $2 billion to $3.5 billion.
The estimate includes the heavily-impacted community of Newcastle, Okla. and incorporates damages to personal, commercial and industrial structure, adding together predicted losses from property, contents and business interruption.
The estimate does not include damages to vehicles.
Matthew Nielsen, director of model product management and RMS’ expert of tornadoes, says that of all the structures affected by the May 20 EF5 massive twister, about 95 percent were residential structures.
In all, about 4,500-5,000 structures were completely destroyed by the tornado and another 15,000-20,000 experienced some kind of damage.
“This is further proof that you can have direct hits over highly-populated areas,” he says.
A hospital in Moore will likely be a total loss, but the equipment inside “appears to be in good shape,” says Nielsen, who adds that RMS had investigators in the field to assess damages. Schools, a bowling alley and banks were among the non-residential structures damaged or destroyed. An initial report listed a movie theater among the heavily-damaged structures but it appears to be in “pretty good shape,” and is being used as a base for emergency operations, says Nielsen.
It will be interesting to continue looking at the damages to determine if construction practices have improved, especially since the same city was struck by a tornado in 1999, Nielsen says. Additionally, more work needs to be done to find out why the Moore tornado had so fewer fatalities than the Joplin, Mo. tornado in 2011, which took the lives of 158 people. Two dozen were reported dead in Moore.
The Joplin tornado resulted in insured losses of about $2.4 billion.