UA’s Insurance Research Center Produces Tornado Preparedness Guide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Five years ago, more than 200 people lost their lives and more than 2,000 injuries were reported from the April 27 tornado outbreak that swept across the state of Alabama. On that day, 35 of 67 Alabama counties suffered damage and 23,552 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Today, the state is remembering those that lost their lives and homes during the outbreak, but it’s also promoting resilience and rebuilding as it looks to the future.

The Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research at The University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Commerce has partnered with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the Alabama Department of Insurance and Smart Home America to produce the 2016 Tornado Preparedness Guide & Insurance Tips for the state of Alabama.

“Recent studies show that most people have short memories surrounding disasters,” said Lars Powell, director of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research. “As unpleasant as it may be to remember a terrible storm, if we don’t keep the public’s attention, we will not be ready for the next event.”

“Tornado preparedness saves lives,” said Jim Ridling, commissioner of insurance for the state of Alabama. “The time between detection and devastation can be very short, and public education is the best strategy to keep people safe during tornadoes.”

The guide not only shares how state residents can prepare ahead of time for storms but also how they can work with insurance companies in the recovery process. The guide also offers various facts and information about some of the deadliest and costliest tornado outbreaks, including details from the April 27, 2011, outbreak.

Home and business owners will also find information about how to build stronger and safer properties through the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety’s FORTIFIED program. FORTIFIED uses a unique, systems-based method for creating stronger, safer homes and is based on more than 20 years of research, testing and real-world observations by IBHS.

“If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we are more likely to repeat them,” Powell said. “Stronger construction methods could have prevented more than 85 percent of the losses to property from the storm, but many homes and businesses were rebuilt exactly as before.”

The guide is available here.

For more information, visit

The Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research provides credible information and research insight for the benefit key stakeholders across the state of Alabama, including policymakers, the public, insurance companies, intermediaries, trade groups, and other parties who need information concerning the management risk. ACIIR is dedicated to providing facts and truths to parties who directly contribute to the economic development of Alabama.


Edith Parten, UA media relations,, 205/348-8318


Patty Pohuski, communications specialist, ACIIR,, 205/348-4513