Homeowners, Auto, and Commercial Insurance Losses Increase From Alabama Tornadoes

The April 27, 2011 tornadoes that hit Alabama presented more losses than Hurricane Ivan in 2004, according to catastrophe modeling company, AIR Worldwide. The losses are even greater than the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused $1 billion in insured losses in Alabama.

The estimate provided by AIR Worldwide is between $1.9 and $2.6 billion, which is more than the $2.0 billion loss from Hurricane Ivan. In this estimate the company took into account the insured physical damages to property, including residential, commercial, industrial and automobile, their structures and contents. It also included additional living expenses for residential insurance claims, as well as business interruption losses.

Alabama governor Robert Bentley recognized that each dollar of losses affects families, homes and businesses, and that these statistics “help provide a framework for the insurance industry to execute its response and keep its promises to Alabama families and businesses.”

On the other hand, Insurance Commissioner Jim Ridling said that he was not surprised by the insurance loss projections as they reflected the “eyeball test” from his visits to several of the affected areas. “The most important thing now is for our agency to work with consumers through the claims process,” said Ridling.

Another estimate, provided by disaster risk assessment firm Eqecat, projected that the overall southern region sustained up to $5 billion in insured losses alone, with most of the losses coming from Alabama.

Governor Bentley asked that all affected Alabama citizens to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), whether or not they have insurance coverage. “If you were affected, this resource is here to help you, particularly if you do not have insurance coverage,” he said.

FEMA disaster recovery centers are present in Montgomery, Jefferson, Marengo, Walker and DeKalb counties, as well as at the National Guard Armory and Old Ashley Furniture Store in Fultondale. The centers are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, and the toll free number is  1-800-621-FEMA (3362). FEMA offers temporary housing assistance, public transportation, medical and dental expenses, and burial expenses for anyone affected by the April tornadoes across Alabama.

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