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May hailstorm could be most costly in Colorado history

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The hailstorm that attacked Colorado’s Front Range May 8 is likely to become the most costly catastrophe in state history, causing an estimated $1.4 billion in insured losses, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

Preliminary estimates of some 150,000 car insurance claims and 50,000 homeowners claims could bring damage caused by the storm to almost double the $767.6 million in losses generated by a July 20, 2009, storm which also hit the Denver Metro area.

Hail as large as golf balls and baseballs damaged homes, cars and businesses as storms swept across the Front Range during the late afternoon and early evening, according to the association, with the largest hail hitting west of Denver, including the Wheat Ridge, Golden and Lakewood areas.

“The enormous size of the hail hitting densely populated areas of the Denver-Metro during rush hour has contributed to the magnitude of damage caused by this storm,” Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, said in a statement. “Add to that Colorado’s population boom, escalating costs to repair high-tech cars and more expensive homes, the insurance price tag on our hailstorms can be expected to continue to rise.”

The association noted estimates are preliminary and based on the majority of the Colorado insurance company market share reporting available data. There are links on the association’s website directing insureds to a list of insurance company claims contacts as well as advisories on how to file auto and property claims.