Insurers could pay $2B for Joplin tornado

Insurance companies already have paid out more than $500 million in claims for the May 22 tornado that struck Joplin. But the final total could grow to three or four times that amount.

The Missouri Department of Insurance said Thursday that insurance companies report receiving 14,910 claims on homeowners, commercial and vehicle insurance policies so far. They have paid out $509 million on those claims.

But the state agency says insurance companies expect total claims from the tornado to reach nearly 17,000. The department also says some of the claims already received were probably partial, with more money likely to be paid on them.

Insurance director John Huff says the tornado will be the largest insurance payout in Missouri history, reaching $1.5 billion to $2 billion.

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