American Family Insurance says claim payments from 2011 catastrophes and storms will top $1 billion

Madison, Wis. (Sept. 7, 2011) — Severe tornadoes and storms in the Midwest combined to push American Family Insurance's storm and catastrophe losses to the $1 billion mark for 2011, only the third time the company's payments have reached that level. The total includes estimated claim payments of more than $100 million to tornado victims in Joplin, Mo.

Loss payment totals were just short of $1 billion through the end of July, but surpassed that milestone in August. Exact totals for August will be available in mid-September.

"American Family exists to help our customers recover from the unexpected," said president-elect Dan Schultz. "And in 2011 we've had many opportunities to fulfill that responsibility, using our financial strength and incredible commitment from our agents and employees to help customers recover from tornadoes, storms and other catastrophes."

The largest catastrophe occurred in Joplin, where a May 22 tornado killed more than 160 people and caused severe and widespread damage in the southwest Missouri city. Local American Family agents and claim adjusters responded to customers immediately after the twister hit, and a large catastrophe operation brought additional claims-handling resources to the area. The company continues to work with customers on their rebuilding efforts.

All told, Joplin-area customers filed 2,300 property, auto and commercial claims. Estimated claim payments of more than $100 million include more than 400 destroyed homes and hundreds of others that were severely damaged.

Other severe weather events included a mid-April tornado and windstorm in the St. Louis area, 7,700 claims and claim payments to date of nearly $28.5 million, and an April 3 windstorm in the Kansas City area, 13,400 claims and claim payments to date of $76.4 million.

In Wisconsin, American Family responded to a May tornado in La Crosse and multiple hailstorms in the southeast, south-central and northeast parts of the state.

American Family's catastrophe losses of $963.5 million through July 31, which includes claims from full-fledged catastrophe operations and smaller storms, represent the third-highest annual total in the company’s history. American Family paid $906.3 million in catastrophe and storm losses in 2010. The company has paid more than $1 billion in annual catastrophe losses twice, in 2006 and 2008.

Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: