PCI: Too Early for Insurance Implications of Deadly Texas Fertilizer Blast

April 18, 2013

A fertilizer facility exploded in the small Central Texas town of West on Wednesday night, killing an estimated 15 people, injuring more than 150 and damaging dozens of homes, according to a report in the Austin American Statesman.

West is located on Interstate 35 about 20 miles north of Waco.

Firefighters were battling a fire at the facility when the explosion occurred and some are among the dead or missing, according to media reports. The blast happened just before 8 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, 45 miles to the north, and registered on a seismograph as far away as Amarillo, about 400 miles to the northwest, ABC News reported.

Joe Woods, vice president, state government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), issued the following statement in response to the explosion.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted by the tragic event that occurred last night in West. Insurers are committed to helping the families and business owners that have been affected and will be there to support the recovery every step of the way.

“Insurance claims from this type of event are likely to be covered by life, health, or property casualty insurance. The location of the incident remains in active search and rescue mode, so it is still too early know the full insurance implications of this event. However, insurers will be working closely with their policyholders to assess the damage and process claims as soon as they have access to the area.

“Generally, the people injured in this incident are likely to file claims with their life insurer or their health insurer. Injured workers or workers in the businesses nearby may be covered under workers compensation insurance.

“Based on what we know at this point, there appears to be extensive property damage to homes, businesses and automobiles. Building owners may have property insurance to cover their damage and loss of rental income. They may also have business interruption coverage for lost income.

“We cannot discuss the specifics of individual policies as they vary by company. Policyholders should talk with their insurance company, agent or claims adjuster to determine the details of their policy.”

The Insurance Council of Texas reports that Texas insurers are mobilizing to assist policyholders in West. Insurance adjusters who live in the area have been contacted and are working with emergency responders to go into the affected area. Some adjusters are already on site. Claims are continuing to mount as they are reported to insurers, the ICT says.

In addition to homes, a middle school, a retirement center, an apartment complex as well as the fertilizer plant received extensive damage.

“The industry stands ready to assist and help in the rebuilding process as soon as possible,” says Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas.

Topics Carriers Texas Claims

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