Cline credited legislative reforms passed in 2005 with turning that around.
That year, then-Gov. Joe Manchin led an effort to curtail what were known as third-party bad-faith lawsuits, which permit claimants to sue another person's insurance company if they believe the company failed to act in good faith in settling a lawsuit.
At the time, West Virginia was one of only six states that permitted that kind of claim.
Insurance industry officials had complained the third-party bad-faith lawsuits had become so abused they strained state consumers' ability to find and afford basic insurance coverage.
The reforms took the complaints out of the legal system and put them under the administrative review of the insurance commissioner's office.
Cline said that eliminated windfall jury awards to individuals and produced more reasonable award amounts. She said it also helped regulators to quickly identify and correct any bad practices occurring in the insurance market.
Additional reforms included modifying how companies denied renewal of certain annual insurance policies.
Cline said the modifications helped insurance companies contain costs and keep rates low.
"All the reforms and changes that have occurred in the marketplace and the regulatory structure have worked," she said. "And as a result of that, in these disasters you're not seeing the increased rates and cancellations of policies."
In addition to the derecho damages, insurance companies also paid out about 4,000 claims totaling more than $15.4 million following Superstorm Sandy last fall.
To prepare for future disasters, Cline said property owners should maintain a full inventory of all appliances and high-value items in their homes.
She said people should work with their insurance agents to review their policies and make sure they know what is and is not covered.
"We used to say get smart about insurance — understand what your coverage needs are," she said. "Don't wait until the time you need to file a claim to figure out what you have in place."
Contact writer Jared Hunt at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.