Adding up Irma’s dam­age

In­sur­ance chief says over 100,000 claims filed with in­sur­ers.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - - FRONT PAGE - By James Salzer jsalzer@ajc.com

Trop­i­cal Storm Irma caused more than $550 mil­lion in dam­age last month in Ge­or­gia, state of­fi­cials say, nearly dou­ble the amount of an ear­lier es­ti­mate.

When Trop­i­cal Storm Irma ham­mered Ge­or­gia last month, it did more than $550 mil­lion in dam­age, state In­sur­ance Com­mis­sioner Ralph Hud­gens said Thurs­day.

That’s al­most dou­ble his of­fice’s pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mate of the wal­lop­ing Ge­or­gia took from the storm, which was a mas­sive hur­ri­cane when it first hit Florida.

Hud­gens said as of Thurs­day that 103,163 in­sur­ance claims, val­ued at more than $550 mil­lion, had been filed. None of that in­cludes dam­aged prop­erty that wasn’t cov­ered or for which claims haven’t been filed.

“As part of our dis­as­ter re­cov­ery plan, my staff and I will con­tinue to have con­ver­sa­tions with claims man­agers of var­i­ous in­sur­ance car­ri­ers to en­sure a smooth claims process for the con­sumers of Ge­or­gia,” Hud­gens said.

The es­ti­mate is based on claims data re­ported to Hud­gens’ de­part­ment by in­sur­ance com­pa­nies from dam­age to in­sured homes, ve­hi­cles and busi­nesses. Hud­gens said that flood dam­age to ve­hi­cles is in­cluded, but dam­age to busi­nesses and pri­vate dwellings from flood­ing is not. The ma­jor­ity of flood in­sur­ance is of­fered through a fed­eral pro­gram, not through in­sur­ance com­pa­nies.

In the At­lanta area, much of the dam­age was caused by downed trees.

This year’s At­lantic storms have been some of the most pow­er­ful and de­struc­tive on record, not only be­cause of the num­ber of Cat­e­gory 5 storms, but also be­cause more hit land than usual.

Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter, a fourth of all Cat­e­gory 5 land­falls since 1851 oc­curred this year.

CUR­TIS COMP­TON/ CCOMPTON@AJC. COM

Boats were blown into the marsh in St. Marys, Ga., af­ter Trop­i­cal Storm Irma hit the coast last month.

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