Report: Denver-area May 8 hailstorm on pace to be most expensive in Colorado history

The May 8 hailstorm that damaged roofs, broke windshields and closed a major shopping center in the Denver area is predicted to be Colorado’s costliest catastrophe ever.

Entry 4 1/2. Colorado Mills, closed due to severe weather damage, May 17, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Entry 4 1/2. Colorado Mills, closed due to severe weather damage, May 17, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) colorado mills mall; hail damage; lakewood; denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite;
Entry 4 1/2. Colorado Mills closed May 8 after the severe storm in the area. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The May 8 hailstorm that damaged roofs, broke windshields and closed a major shopping center in the Denver area is predicted to be Colorado’s costliest insured catastrophe ever.

A preliminary estimate from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association shows that insured properties suffered approximately $1.4 billion in damage as a result of the storm. The estimate is based on data available from the majority of the Colorado insurance company market share.

More than 150,000 car insurance claims and 50,000 homeowners insurance claims are estimated to be filed, according to the Greenwood Village-based nonprofit representing property and casualty insurers in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming

The storm is on pace to rise to the top of the list of most costly catastrophic events involving insured properties in Colorado, ahead of the $845.5 million in damages caused in July 2009 and July 1990.

Part of the reason that this month’s storm cost so much is because of the time of day it occurred and the number of people currently living along the Front Range, according to Carole Walker, executive director of the association.

“The enormous size of the hail hitting densely populated areas of the Denver metro during rush hour has contributed to the magnitude of damage caused by this storm,” Walker said in a statement.

“Add to that Colorado’s population boom, escalating costs to repair high-tech cars and more expensive homes, the insurance price tag on our hailstorms can be expected to continue to rise,” she said.

The data provided by the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association does not include damage from the storm that caused major flooding in September 2013. That’s because many of the homes, stores and other properties damaged or destroyed by the storm did not typically have flooding included in their insurance coverage, Walker said.

The 2013 floods caused an estimated $2 billion in economic losses, according to a report from catastrophe modeling firm EQECAT.

Date Location Cost When Occurred
(Millions)
2016 Dollars
(Millions)
*
May 8, 2017 Denver Metro $1.4 billion NA
July 20, 2009 Denver Metro $767.6 $845.5
July 11, 1990 Denver Metro $625.0 $1.1 billion
June 6-15, 2009 Denver Metro $353.3 $389.2
July 28, 2016 Colorado Springs $352.8 $352.8
June 6-7, 2012 CO Front Range $321.1 $330.5
June 13-14, 1984 Denver Metro $276.7 $629.3
July 29, 2009 Pueblo $232.8 $256.5
October 1,
1994
Denver Metro $225.0 $358.8
September 29, 2014 Denver Metro $213.3 $213.4

Source: The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or @adriandgarcia on Twitter

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.