Insured losses from the massive hailstorms that struck the Dallas area on Wednesday could reach as much as $2 billion, based on the volume of claims insurers have already received, the Southwestern Insurance Information Service said on Friday.
The SIIS, a trade group that speaks for property insurers in Texas and Oklahoma, said members have already classified the storm as catastrophic.
The National Weather Service said this week the storms were the worst in the area in at least nine years. Baseball-sized hailstones smashed everything from car windshields to a theater marquee, though no serious injuries were reported.
If the SIIS forecast is right, it could be one of the worst storm losses, excluding hurricanes, in U.S. history.
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.
(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; editing by Doina Chiacu)