Hurricane Rita's Texas, Louisiana Claims Totaled $5.8 Billion

The final tally of the cost of claims from Hurricane Rita in Louisiana and Texas came to $5.8 billion, the Insurance Council of Texas reported yesterday. Rita, which hit Texas/Louisiana border Sept. 24, 2005, was the storm that prompted an emergency evacuation from coastal areas in which a bus caught fire, killing 23 elderly nursing home residents and prompting new motorcoach safety recommendations recently from the National Transportation Safety Board.

ICT said the overwhelming majority of claims in Texas came from winds that toppled power lines and trees. "Windstorm coverage insures for losses from wind damage, including damage from flying debris or falling trees," spokesman Mark Hanna said in a news release. "Despite the sweltering heat and lack of utilities, adjusters reached the hardest-hit areas and helped homeowners and business owners get back on their feet as quickly as possible."

The Texas Department of Insurance received 1,928 complaints from Hurricane Rita victims who filed 220,641 claims amounting to $2.8 billion, ICT said, noting that those complaints represent 0.87 percent of the consumers who filed claims. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said flood claims for both states totaled 14,700. Louisianans filed $375 million in flood claims compared to Texans' $53 million. The average flood claim was $47,110.

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