The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 30, 2011

Insurance companies have paid $2.2 billion so far in Joplin

JOPLIN, Mo. — The payments by insurance companies for covered tornado losses in Joplin have exceeded $2 billion.

Property Claims Services, the company that puts the insurance-payout numbers to a catastrophe, said it expects insured losses in Joplin to top $2.2 billion.

“That’s what insurers, as of the end of July, had paid and what they expect to pay,” said Robert Hartwig, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, in a telephone interview Tuesday.

“That’s actual dollars disbursed, plus the dollars insurers have earmarked or put in reserve for Joplin claims. We do not expect the number to go much higher than that.”

PAYOUTS SO FAR

The Missouri Department of Insurance, as of July 15, had received 16,656 claims for insurance coverage related to policies for homeowners, private auto, commercial property, commercial auto and other categories. The department said insurance companies had made payments of $745.3 million toward those claims, but that nearly 1,300 claims had not been resolved.

Of the $745.3 million, more than $404 million was to homeowners who had filed 7,600 claims. The total projected claims in the homeowners’ category is 8,285. More than $289 million was paid for 1,902 claims related to commercial property. The total claims expected in that category is 2,049.

John Huff, director of the department, said in a prepared statement, “The insurance industry’s role in Joplin’s recovery continues to be commendable, paying claims to what will be the largest insurance event in Missouri history.”

The payout of $745 million in eight weeks is a “significant investment into the local economy,’’ Huff said.

That money is fueling the reconstruction of Joplin. The city in July issued 1,570 permits for residential and commercial work with a total value of $51.7 million. That follows June’s permits with a total value of $27.2 million.

In just those two months, Joplin exceeded the $60.4 million value of all permits issued in fiscal year 2010 by nearly $18.5 million. The city’s fiscal year runs from Nov. 1 through Oct. 31.

About 60 permits were issued in July for new home construction. That compares with only 16 homes started in the previous six months, with a combined value of $2.1 million.

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