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Looting, vandalism from 2020 riots estimated to break insurance claim records

Claims continue to roll in to insurers for destruction linked to riots following the death of George Floyd

Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

The looting and destruction of property linked to riots following the death of George Floyd are estimated to be the "most expensive in insurance history," according to an exclusive report from Axios.

What are the details?

Axios reported that according to data from a firm called Property Claim Services, "The protests that took place in 140 U.S. cities this spring were mostly peaceful, but the arson, vandalism and looting that did occur will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims — eclipsing the record set in Los Angeles in 1992 after the acquittal of the police officers who brutalized Rodney King."

Damage from the LA riots following the acquittal of the officers seen on video beating King cost insurers $775 million, which comes in at $1.42 billion when adjusted to 2020 dollars.

But the claims keep rolling in for property damage linked to civil unrest following the death of Floyd in late May, as riots in several U.S. cities continue months later — meaning even the high $2 billion estimate could be eclipsed.

Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute explained to the outlet, "It's not just happening in one city or state — it's all over the country. And this is still happening, so the losses could be significantly more."

The Daily Wire noted:

The Floyd riots are also notable because the destruction is ongoing in places like Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, and new riots and incidents of looting crop up in cities weekly, as new police-involved shooting incidents come to light. The $2 billion likely does not include damage in Rochester, New York, or Lancaster, Pennsylvania, both of which played host, last weekend, to demonstrations that eventually turned violent. And it definitely does not include anticipated unrest following the November presidential election.

Other costly periods of civil unrest in America "include the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965, the 1967 Detroit riot, and the New York City blackout of 1977," Fox News reported.

Those events racked up losses totaling $357 million, $322 million, and $118 million respectively, in 2020 dollars.

Property Claim Services classifies events that result in more than $25 million in losses to be a "catastrophe."

Anything else?

The Daily Mail pointed out that property damage claims due to civil unrest typically "pale in comparison to those related to natural disasters."

The outlet reported, "Insurance companies paid out a total of $219 billion worldwide for natural disasters in 2017 and 2018, according to Swiss Re," adding that "in California alone, insurance companies paid out $20 billion in claims during those two years after wildfires devastated the state."

One last thing…
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