JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) __ Insurance companies already have paid out more than $500 million in claims for a deadly tornado that struck the southwest Missouri city of Joplin. But the final total could grow to three or four times that amount.

The state insurance department said Thursday that insurance companies have reported receiving 14,910 claims on homeowners, commercial and vehicle insurance policies so far. They have paid out $509 million on those claims.

But the state agency says insurance companies expect nearly 17,000 additional claims to come in from the May 22 tornado. State insurance director John Huff says the Joplin tornado will
be the largest insurance payout in Missouri history. The state agency says it expects insurance companies ultimately will pay between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in claims.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press


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