The tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri could cost the insurance industry between $1 billion and $3 billion, according to catastrophe modeling firm Eqecat.
The tornado is the deadliest to hit the U.S. since 1947 and the first single tornado to claim more than 100 lives since 1953. Preliminary reports indicate that the tornado killed at least 116 people in the city of Joplin.
The tornado initially touched down at the Kansas-Missouri state line just southwest of Joplin and tracked east-northeast through residential/commercial areas of southwest Joplin proper. The tornado intensified as it tracked across Joplin, moving just south of the downtown area. The town suffered catastrophic damage as the tornado destroyed several schools, downtown businesses, and St. John’s Regional Medical Center.
Preliminary reports from emergency management officials in Joplin indicate that up to a quarter of the building stock (2,000 buildings) in the city have been destroyed. It is estimated that 5,000-10,000 buildings/houses (50 to 75 percent) have been damaged by the tornado’s wind field.