Insurance Claims Reveal Unprecedented Price of Destruction Caused by ‘Mostly Peaceful’ Protests

The racial justice protests across the United States will result in at least $1 billion to $2 billion of paid insurance claims, according to a new report.

The numbers: Property Claim Services found arson, vandalism and looting following the May 25 death of George Floyd caused far more insured property damage than any previous period of civil unrest since the company started keeping track in 1950, Axios reported on Wednesday.

  • The cost of the destruction — which is based only on claims from May 26 to June 8 — will blow past the previous record of $775 million resulting from the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
  • PCS classifies any event that leads to more than $25 million in insured losses as a “catastrophe.”

Loretta L. Worters of the Insurance Information Institute, which compiled information from PCS and other firms that report such statistics, said the difference is that these protests are widespread, spanning 20 states.

  • “And this is still happening, so the losses could be significantly more,” she said.

“Mostly peaceful”: Still, Axios made sure to note, “The protests that took place in 140 U.S. cities this spring were mostly peaceful.”

  • The site also said natural disasters are more costly for insurers, and most business’s insurance plans cover riot-related losses.

Liberals sympathetic to the protests have in some cases proved hesitant to condemn the associated violence, which in some cases has been deadly.

  • NPR in August published an interview with writer and activist Vicky Osterweil about her new book, “In Defense of Looting,” which editors later acknowledged the interview had been too uncritical.
  • A report released last month by Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project found that about 7% of the 7,750 protests have involved violence.
  • According to the nonprofit, which monitors war zones and political upheaval around the world, “These data reveal that the United States is in crisis.”
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