Ala. damage costs expected to be in billions

Russell Cabin near Children's Harbor near Lake Martin.
Russell Cabin near Children's Harbor near Lake Martin.

Alabama's insurance commissioner, Jim Ridling, says damage from last week's deadly tornadoes could approach the state's worst disaster economically. That was Hurricane Ivan in 2004, when Alabama had $2 billion in losses on insured property.

Ridling says early insurance industry estimates put the tornado damage across the South at $2 billion to $5 billion. He said Alabama numbers won't be available for a few days, but he's never seen such extensive damage over such a wide area.

Riding and Gov. Robert Bentley met with officials Wednesday from five of the state's largest property insurers. Bentley says they have placed more than 20 mobile claims centers in 12 towns and are working to keep their commitments to their Alabama policyholders.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)