Billion dollar losses possible from night of large hail in Oklahoma & Texas

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Once again a large hail storm event looks set to drive at least economic losses towards the billion dollar mark, perhaps insurance and reinsurance market losses too.

april-28-2021-hail-storms-plainsLast night, areas of Oklahoma and Texas experienced severe convective storms that drove large hail into metro areas, with hail stones of three-inches diameter and greater reported in some areas.

The areas impacted the most appear to have been Norman in Oklahoma, towards the south of Oklahoma City, as well as communities around Fort Worth and San Antonio in Texas.

Severe hail storm events in the Plains region are not unusual, but three metro areas or suburbs, each more than 200 miles apart, being hit in the same night with large and damaging hail can make for an expensive event for the insurance and reinsurance market.

As the storms occurred last night it is still extremely early to be deliberating costs, but industry meteorologists have been discussing the potential for the costs to reach over one billion dollars already.

The suburb of Norman, Oklahoma is thought to have experienced the worst damage from these storms, with hail over three-inches in diameter impacting cars and damaging roofs and windows of properties.

Overall, the Storm Prediction Center recorded 5 tornado reports, more than 94 reports of large hail of over golf ball size, and numerous strong wind reports from the severe thunderstorm and convective weather outbreaks yesterday evening and last night.

A handful of large supercell storms are thought to have been responsible for the bulk of the hail damage.

Steve Bowen, Meteorologist & Head of Catastrophe Insight at insurance and reinsurance broker Aon, shared the hail swathe images you can see in this article, which show the three worst affected regions and the storm systems that impacted them.

Strong wind gusts of up to 60 mph exacerbated the situation, blowing hail into property sidings and likely causing more damage.

As ever, the precise locations impacted will drive the size of the insurance and reinsurance market loss from these hail storms, as if a significant large hail outbreak hits a highly populated metro area it has often been seen to drive losses into the billions.

Large hail, alongside other severe convective weather effects such as tornadoes and high-winds, has been a consistent contributor to US property catastrophe reinsurance losses in recent years as well, with losses reportedly already mounting in 2021.

It’s worth stressing again that it will be some days or weeks before the financial impacts of yesterday and last night’s severe storms and hail are better understand.

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