By Marice Richter and Ben Berkowitz
Dallas, June 15 Insured losses from the massive
hailstorm that struck the Dallas area on Wednesday could reach
as much as $2 billion, making it one of the most costly storms
of its type in U.S. history, an insurance organization said on
The Southwestern Insurance Information Service (SIIS), a
trade group that speaks for property insurers in Texas and
Oklahoma, said members have already classified the storm as
The storms were the worst in the area in at least nine
years, the National Weather Service said this week.
Baseball-sized hailstones smashed everything from car
windshields to a theater marquee, though no serious injuries
If the SIIS forecast is right, it could be one of the United
States' worst storm losses, excluding hurricanes.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, over the
20 years ending in 2010, total hail, wind and flood losses
nationwide were just $14 billion.
"Based upon the claims filed within the past 36 hours, this
storm could reach $1.5 to 2 billion in insured losses. This is
preliminary and we are hopeful that the damage estimates fall
short of what we are predicting," SIIS President Sandra Helin
said in a statement.
State Farm, the largest property insurer in Texas with more
than a quarter of the market, said that as of mid-day Friday it
had about 8,000 auto insurance claims and just over 3,000
homeowners' claims from the Dallas storm.
USAA, the military-focused insurer that is the
fourth-largest property underwriter in Texas, said it had
received some 4,000 home and auto claims.
From shattered windshields and sunroofs to damaged roofs and
battered signs, the aftermath of the vicious hailstorms will
reverberate through Dallas for months to come.
"We've got more people in our lobby than we can handle,"
Shawn Pedersen, a service adviser for a Service King auto repair
shop in Dallas said on Friday. "There are no rental cars
anywhere to be found in the Dallas area."
The hail began in Dallas about 6 p.m. as many commuters were
heading home during the evening rush. Drivers attempted to
maneuver under overpasses and beneath trees and building
canopies to avoid the onslaught.
Larry Davidson, who was watching the storm from his
second-story hair salon in the hard-hit Lakewood area a few
miles east of downtown Dallas, said he and two clients saw their
cars severely battered and dented by the densest blanket of hail
they had ever seen.
"At one point, I tried to open the back door to the salon to
see the back parking lot but the hail was so deep, I couldn't
push the door open," he said.
Nakita Johnson stopped her car in the Lakewood area and
suffered a cut on her head as she ran to a nearby home to take
cover, according to the office of her husband, state
Representative Eric Johnson.
Eric Johnson wrote on his Facebook page that the hospital
they went to was good. "Hail, however," he wrote, "is evil."