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Hurricane Lili could cost $600 million dollars

Preliminary estimates of $600 million in insurance claims are what U.S. insurers could pay to victims of Hurricane Lili, the first hurricane to strike the United States mainland since 1999. That's the word from the Insurance Information Institute (III), a trade organization of the property/casualty insurance industry.

So far, in 2002, insurance losses from natural disasters are estimated at $4 billion.

The preliminary estimate for the Oct. 3, 2002, hurricane is based on an III survey of insurers and an average of initial estimates prepared by AIR Worldwide. AIR uses a computer-modeling program to estimate insured losses from catastrophes. The III says a majority of the insured losses is expected to be in Louisiana. Also affected were Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and parts of Texas.

Approximately half the insured losses were to commercial properties, including hotels, oil refineries, farms, and retail stores. Inspections by insurance companies found much of the damage to personal property was to roofs and autos.

Consumers whose property has been damaged should contact their insurance agents immediately. Policyholders should also be wary of unscrupulous repairmen. For more information, read How to avoid after disaster repair rip-offs.

The hurricane came about a week after the Sept. 25, 2002, landfall of Tropical Storm Isidore, which struck parts of Louisiana and caused an estimated $100 million in insured losses.

So far, in 2002, insured losses from natural disasters are estimated at nearly $4 billion. Insured losses for 2001 totaled $7.5 billion.

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