Up to $2 Billion in Insurance Losses From Police Protests

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The vandalism and looting after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police will cost the insurance industry more than any other violent demonstrations in recent history, Axios reports. The protests in 140 cities this spring were mostly peaceful, but the arson, vandalism and looting that did occur will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims, eclipsing the record set in Los Angeles in 1992 after the acquittal of the police officers who brutalized Rodney King. The estimate comes from the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), which compiles information from Property Claim Services (PCS) and other firms that report such statistics.

The protests related to George Floyd’s death are different because they are so widespread. “It’s not just happening in one city or state — it’s all over the country,” says Loretta Worters of Triple-I. “And this is still happening, so the losses could be significantly more.” These losses are small compared with those stemming from natural disasters like hurricanes and the wildfires that are consuming the U.S. West. There were $775 million in claims from the 1992 Rodney King demonstrations. The last time PCS compiled insurance losses for a “civil disorder event” was in April 2015, when rioting erupted in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray from a neck injury while being transported in a police van. While companies have learned that their insurance doesn’t cover business interruption related to the coronavirus, most policies do cover riot-related losses. What to watch: The insurance industry is anticipating potential unrest after the November election.

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