Letter from Austin: Texas twister claims totals top $300M

by Julie Drenner on April 11, 2012

About a dozen tornadoes and a severe hail storm wreaked havoc over the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex April 3. Homes were flattened, tractor trailers were tossed in the air like matchbox cars, and more than 100 airplanes were damaged.  American Airlines, stationed at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, cancelled hundreds of flights over numerous days as crews desperately tried to repair the destruction and reroute customers.

According to preliminary estimates from the Southwestern Insurance Information Service, the damages thus far were at least $300 million as of April 6, and could possibly rise to $500 million. SIIS said their totals included at least 350 homes that were destroyed, up to 1,000 homes that were damaged and up to 20,000 auto claims.

Miraculously, there were no reported deaths.  However, Red Cross has set up shelters and is providing assistance to affected communities. For more information, contact the Texas Department of Insurance at 1-800-252-3439.


While severe weather certainly causes its share of insurance claims, so do city employees.  In the past decade in San Antonio, more than $15 million has been paid by the city for damages and legal expenses resulting from vehicular accidents involving their employees. Texas law limits the city’s liability and caps the damages they must pay in some types of accidents.  Thus, victims in these circumstances are many times left holding the bag for the remainder of their medical bills and other expenditures.


As our state continues to place more emphasis on standardized testing, accusations of cheating by teachers and administrators continue to mount. Funding education based on test scores creates an environment ripe for temptation.  Even local charter and magnet schools now reject children with exceptional grades if they do not receive accommodations in all areas subject to testing.

We have confused accountability for schools with high test scores.  Without more common sense injected into our system, we will continue to see school administrators and teacher do whatever it takes to keep their jobs.

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