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Insurance Firms Paid $271 Million in Bastrop Fire Claims

The top 10 homeowners insurers in Texas paid out more than $270 million in claims related to last year's Bastrop wildfires, according to a new report. But that is still much less than some other catastrophes, like Dallas' April hailstorms, which led to $2 billion in insurance losses.

A For Sale sign in front of a burned-down house on Sept. 13, 2011, after the wildfires in Bastrop County.

The top 10 writers of homeowners insurance in Texas paid out claims exceeding $271 million related to last year's Bastrop wildfires, the Texas Department of Insurance reports.

Almost $258 million of that was paid to 4,729 residential property claims. The total also includes claims for commercial property and personal and commercial automobiles.

Insurance department spokesman Jerry Hagins said the numbers are “stable” at this point but that the total does not account for individuals who hold policies with smaller companies or any claims that may come up later.

The total is far lower than total claims for some other Texas disasters. Dallas’ April hailstorms resulted in $2 billion in payouts by insurance companies. Hagins said the department hadn’t analyzed the data thoroughly enough to be able to compare it to other catastrophes. 

The wildfire was the costliest in state history.

“This is really just a data report, so people have some context for the overall number of claims and amounts,” he said.

The fire broke out Sept. 4, 2011, destroying more than 1,600 homes and temporarily displacing thousands of families and businesses.

For all wildfires across the state last year, the department handled 79 complaints from consumers, 26 of which resulted in additional awards totaling $1.7 million. The department serves as a mediator when policyholders feel their insurance company has not properly delivered on the policy.

State Farm Group leads the list of top 10 homeowners insurance writers in Texas, followed by Allstate Insurance Group.

Bastrop Wildfire Claims – as of August 2012
Residential Property  
1) Total number of filed claims 4,729
2) Total amount paid $257,685,831
Commercial Property  
1) Total number of filed claims 137
2) Total amount paid $10,289,877
Personal Automobile  
1) Total number of filed claims 597
2) Total amount paid $3,192,773
Commercial Automobile  
1) Total number of filed claims 22
2) Total amount paid $316,715
TOTAL AMOUNT PAID $271,485,196

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