Violent Protests Have Caused Almost $2 Billion In Property Damage

( In just 12 days, peaceful protests that turned violent following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis caused up to $2 billion in property damage, according to an Axios report released Wednesday.

Vandalism, looting and arson that occurred after the protests were no longer peaceful resulted in insurance claims of at least $1 billion and up to as much as $2 billion, Axios said. Those numbers well eclipsed the previous record set in 1992 in Los Angeles following the acquittal of police officers who beat Rodney King.

The data comes from Property Claim Services, a company that since 1950 has been tracking insurance claims that are related to civil disorder. Anything that totals more than $25 million in insurance losses is classified as a “catastrophe.”

Another firm, Insurance Information Institute, says the total could balloon to much more than $2 billion. And this is only taking into account the first two weeks following Floyd’s death. While protests occurred in 140 cities following that incident, other protests since have turned violent in cities throughout the country.

The main reason for the huge damage totals is this fact that the protests happened all over the country and not just in one city. As a spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, Loretta Worters, said:

“It’s not just happening in one city or state — it’s all over the country. And this is still happening, so the losses could be significantly more.”

The Axios report details that the losses from the protests still pale in comparison to wildfires and hurricanes. Hurricane Isaias, for example, is estimated to cost between $3 billion and $5 billion in insurance losses, according to Risk Management Solutions.

Losses from California’s wildfire season, which only just started, have already totaled $1.5 billion. In 2018, the total damage was $18 billion.

As Worters said:

“In California alone, wildfires have already burned 2.2 million acres in 2020 — more than any year on record. And the 2020 wildfire season still has a way to go.”

The problem with these comparisons, though, are that hurricanes and wildfires are (mostly) natural disasters. The damage caused by protesters is directly related to human action. In other words, it’s easily preventable.

The riots of 2020 have been taken to a whole new level in terms of the economic property damage they’ve caused. In April 2015, PCS released data about the property damage caused following the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. He died from a neck injury as he was being transported in a police van.

The Insurance Information Institute posted an article on its website related to that event that said:

“Those riots did not result in insured losses reaching $25 million when it occurred, PCS’s threshold for a catastrophe.

“For the first time, PCS has designated this civil disorder and those that followed across the United States from May 26 to June 8 as a multi-state catastrophe event.”

The bad news is that this hasn’t all stopped yet, so the damage could be much, much worse by the end.