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First Major Tornado Outbreak Levels Homes, Kills 6 in Texas

Insurance loss estimates have yet to be released for storms that hit a community southwest of Fort Worth last night.

The first major U.S. weather event of summer 2013 occurred last night in Granbury, Hood County, Texas, where a tornado outbreak killed six people, wounded dozens of others, and destroyed property in a subdivision.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

At a press conference Thursday morning, Hood County Sheriff Roger Deeds said all six people who died were adults, although he did not have their names or other details. He said 37 others were injured, and about 110 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Deeds said the death toll could rise as seven people remain unaccounted for and nearby rural areas just outside the Rancho Brazos subdivision had not been searched thoroughly. But he said he didn't expect anyone else to be found in the rubble. Search-and-rescue efforts were to wrap up by 10 a.m., just before a scheduled media tour of the hardest hit neighborhood.

Insurers have begun their response efforts in the area.

The event comes a little more than a year after a major outbreak that hit the city of Dallas.

Yahoo! Finance recently published an article with some facts and figures on U.S. tornadoes and insurance. There have been 237 so far this year, the article noted. Julie Rochman, president and CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, told the site that "the risk modeling related to tornadoes is still relatively new… One of the problems is that the information that we have about the systems that produce tornadoes, and the tornadoes themselves, is nowhere near the type of information data we have on hurricanes. The storms come up very, very quickly, and they dissipate very, very quickly, in most cases."

There also has been recent debate on a bill related to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association that would require private insurers to offer more coverage to state residents. However, that association deals mostly with Gulf Coast hurricane claims, not inland tornadoes, according to its website.

Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio

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