Deadly tornadoes raise prospect of large payouts

A SPATE of tornadoes has hit the US, killing at least 39 people and leaving the insurance industry facing losses of several hundred million dollars.

A thousand-mile chain of destruction reaching down to the Gulf of Mexico has demolished homes, damaged schools and led to deaths in the states of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Alabama.

Catastrophe modelling company Eqecat said that this year’s storm season is already running nearly 30 per cent higher than the average of recent years.

Last year’s tornadoes, one of the seasons on record, resulted in total insurance losses of around $7.3bn (£4.6bn).

But this year’s payouts are expected to be much lower as no major cities have been severely affected.