Claims from Massachusetts tornadoes rise to $175 million

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 29, 2011 5:05 PM
Claims from Massachusetts tornadoes rise to $175 million

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - The deadly tornadoes that plowed through western and central Massachusetts on June 1 have now prompted 9,500 insurance claims totaling $175 million worth of damage, state officials said on Wednesday.

The estimate by the state Division of Insurance is up from the $140 million tally from 8,200 claims reported as of June 17, which already made the twisters the most costly Massachusetts natural disaster in recent memory.

Some 1,400 buildings were damaged by three tornadoes, including about 400 homes that were destroyed, according to state emergency management officials. The most powerful tornado cut a 39-mile swath from Westfield east to Southbridge.

Two people were killed in West Springfield and one person died in Brimfield.

Of the updated total claims, 5,000 are related to personal insurance costs that now total $135 million, while 3,500 auto claims carry a price tag of $20 million. About 1,000 commercial property claims have reached $20 million, the state said in a statement.

The American Red Cross on Wednesday closed a shelter in hard-hit Springfield that had housed some 300 tornado victims left homeless by the storms.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will shut its disaster recovery centers in Sturbridge, Westfield and Wilbraham on Friday, but centers in Brimfield, West Springfield, Springfield, Monson and Southbridge will remain open for the time being.

(Reporting by Zach Howard; editing by Chris Michaud and Greg McCune)