Insurance companies may pay as much as $2 billion on claims from the deep dents and broken glass to vehicles following a massive hail storm in Dallas, according to the Southwestern Insurance Information Service (SIIS).
“From what I’m seeing—the claims that are already coming in—the damage is just so extensive,” says Sandra Helin, president of the SIIS, a trade association for property insurers in Texas and Oklahoma.
Claims payments could reach the $1.5 to $2 billion range, according to the SIIS, but Helin says she “hopes it doesn’t get that high.”
If the SIIS estimate is correct, then the hail storm is likely to become one of the worst ever for the insurance industry. According to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.), hail causes about $1 billion in damage to property and crops each year. In 2011, Texas had the largest number of major hail storms of any state, with 741.
Helin expects the industry to log about 60,000 auto claims, based on the rate of claims coming in since the storm. Baseball-sized hail from several storm systems slammed into vehicles and homes during the late afternoon hours June 13. The National Weather Service says the storms were the worst in the area in nearly a decade.
“Very expensive homes and historical structures are included among the things that got hit,” Helin adds. “Everything got hit.”
Shortly after the storm, Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas, said he expected insured losses from the recent hail storms to exceed the estimated $400 million in losses expected from tornadoes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area in April.
State Farm had already received more than 11,000 claims as of June 15: 7,898 auto claims and 3,442 homeowners’ insurance claims. In comparison, days after the April twisters, State Farm reported 8,610 auto claims. As of June 15, Farmers Insurance had received nearly 4,500 claims, while USAA said members submitted about 4,000 claims, with slightly more auto than homeowners’ claims.