May 9, 2011 / 5:29 PM / 8 years ago

April tornado insured losses $3.7-5.5 billion: AIR

Sydney Maxwell looks for his belongings in his apartment destroyed in April 27's deadl tornados in Tuscaloosa, Alabama May 2, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Celano

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tornadoes and storms that struck the southern United States in late April caused insured losses estimated at $3.7 billion to $5.5 billion, catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide said on Monday.

The estimate for the April 22-28 storms reflected physical damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and their contents and damage to automobiles, living expenses for people displaced from their homes and business interruption claims.

Boston-based AIR cited an estimated death toll from the tornado disaster of 354 people across seven states and said thousands had been left homeless when entire neighborhoods were flattened.

It was the second deadliest thunderstorm outbreak in U.S. history, after the Tri-State tornado outbreak of 1925 in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

Another catastrophe modeling company, EQECAT, had previously estimated insured property losses from last month’s devastating storms at between $2 billion to $5 billion.

Alabama bore the brunt of the damage with local state insurance officials estimating it would exceed the state’s $2 billion losses from Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The last four months have been some of the toughest for the insurance industry in history. Aside from the deadly U.S. tornadoes, insurers have been confronted with earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand and flooding in Australia, among other multibillion-dollar events.

However, the tornadoes losses estimates announced so far would not make the all-time top 10 catastrophes in the United States.

Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Ben Berkowitz; Editing by David Lawder

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