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Report: Oklahoma sees $2 billion in insurance payouts in 2013 due to natural disasters

Natural disasters are always on the mind of those in the south central area of the U.S., and according to new data by the Insurance Information Institute, there's reason to have concern. The report showed that Oklahoma had the highest insurance payouts from natural disasters in 2013, which totaled around $2 billion, reported Government Security News.

The total amount of insurance payouts is primarily due to the numerous tornadoes that hit the state last year. According to Government Security News, one tornado in May hit the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore and other surrounding areas with wind speeds reaching up to 200 miles per hour. The tornado killed dozens of people and destroyed businesses and homes.

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Other states see high disaster-related payouts
Texas also saw high natural disaster-related payouts with nearly $1.51 billion used toward recovery, reported Government Security News. The two states were much higher than any other in 2013 with the third-highest state in natural disaster-related payouts hitting Colorado with $907 million.

Minnesota, with $845 million, and Nebraska with $773 million, finished out the rest of the top five states in natural disaster payouts. According to Government Security News, the total amount of U.S. insurance claims reached $12.79 billion, with at least $10.27 used for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes alone. The research also showed that the top 10 costliest tornado events in U.S. history have all happened since 2001.

"Hurricanes like 2012's Sandy generate headlines, even though it is the frequency and severity of tornadoes that has grown in recent years," Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute, said in a statement, Government Security News reported.

Extending lead time for tornado warnings
Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) recently proposed legislation that would force federal weather forecasters to prioritize the protection of the state's people and property and broaden the lead time for tornado warnings, reported Insurance Journal.

The proposed legislation is aimed at funding the research program within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to increase the lead time by more than one hour for tornado warnings, reported Insurance Journal. The legislation would improve situational awareness for residents and business owners in the event of a natural disaster. Having information sooner will give businesses more time to react and help ensure that companies will be able to maintain business continuity management through a crisis.


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