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Assessing the Impact from Dallas Tornadoes

There were scattered injuries, but no reported deaths, after yesterday's outbreak.

By now, most insurers have heard about last night's tornado outbreak in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. No one died during the destruction, a result the city's mayor described as "a miracle." The Dallas Morning News has a map of the path.

It certainly seems unlikely that no one was killed when you see the damage: suburban homes reduced to rubble and, as captured in some instantly iconic pictures and video, truck trailers tossed about in the air:

Texas is located in "Tornado Alley," the historical center of tornado activity in the Great Plains and Midwest U.S., so residents and insurers are surely aware of the risk of these storms. “On average, April and May are the most active months for severe thunderstorm activity in Central Texas, and Tuesday’s activity was typical for the time of year,” Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, said in a statement to media about the outbreak.

But this one stood out among "normal" tornado activity, Doggett added, due to the population of the area. It drew comparisons to the worst in the city's history — and the touching down of such a powerful storm in such a heavily populated region is another indication of the changing face of tornado risk.

Santa Ana, Calif.-based CoreLogic wrote in a study, Tornado and Hail Risk Beyond Tornado Alley, that the "recent and dramatic increase in the number of highly destructive severe weather outbreaks along with the availability of geospatial hazard risk modeling is leading to changes in risk management policy and procedure, particularly within the insurance industry."

[For more on CoreLogic's study, see related article.]

Interestingly, the event wasn't enough to cancel last night's NHL game between the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks in Dallas. Unfortunately for Stars fans who braved the elements to attend, San Jose won 5-2.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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