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Tornadoes Quickly Turn Tide for Insurers

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Property and casualty insurers will be taking a hit as claims pile up from a massive tornado in the Oklahoma City area and more severe weather expected in Tornado Alley for the next few days.

"Up until the past weekend, there's been a tornado drought," said Paul Walsh, vice president of weather analytics at The Weather Channel. As of May 19, we've seen less than half the number of tornadoes this year than for the period last year, Walsh told "Big Data Download." As a result, weather-related insurance claims were down about 50 percent as well, Walsh noted.

"That of course has all turned around really, really quickly this weekend," Walsh said.

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Walsh expects severe weather to last four to six more weeks, but says it's difficult to accurately predict tornadoes any more than three days before a storm is expected to hit.

"We do know that today and tomorrow we're going to continue to see this increased risk of tornadoes across the same areas basically that we saw today," Walsh said.

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So while property and casualty insurers like Travelers (TRV), Allstate (ALL) and the Hanover Insurance Group (THG) enjoyed a calmer-than-usual beginning of the tornado season, they'll have to be on high alert through June in case the rest of the season makes up for a quiet April and early May, Walsh said.

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