AIR Worldwide Updates Estimates of Insured Losses for Hurricane Irma’s Impacts in the United States
BOSTON, Sept. 11, 2017 — Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates industry insured losses in the United States resulting from Hurricane Irma will range from USD 20 billion to USD 40 billion. Note that these estimates are based on the NHC’s Sunday, September 10, 5:00 p.m. EDT forecast advisory for Irma. AIR Worldwide is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.
According to AIR, exposure value in the coastal counties along the Gulf Coast up to Tampa, which will bear the brunt of the impact, is estimated at USD 1 trillion.
After battering a string of Caribbean islands since its first landfall in Barbuda on September 6, Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cuba’s northern coast as a Category 5 storm on Friday, September 8. Irma weakened to Category 3 as it interacted with land throughout Friday and into Saturday morning, but reintensified to a Category 4 storm as it turned north toward Florida on Saturday night.
Irma's center crossed the lower Florida Keys at 9:10 AM on Sunday, September 10, making a first U.S. landfall on Cudjoe Key at Category 4 strength, with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The storm weakened to Category 3 status before it made its second landfall on Marco Island at 3:35 PM EDT on the southwest coast of Florida, just south of the city of Naples. Sustained winds at landfall were 115 mph, according to the NHC.
Nearly the entire state of Florida has been subject to strong winds and torrential rains, and very dangerous storm surge. Hurricane Irma lashed the Florida Keys with extreme winds and torrential rains, its center passing just 20 miles east of the popular tourist destination of Key West. At least 10 inches of rain have fallen in parts of Florida, including in Okeechobee. The Army Corps of Engineers, which discharged water from Lake Okeechobee in advance of Irma’s arrival, has said that they do not anticipate levee failure. Indeed, while rainfall totals of 10-15 inches with isolated pockets of up to 20 inches are expected across Florida, Irma’s forward motion should prevent the kind of accumulations and resulting flooding seen two weeks ago in Texas from Hurricane Harvey.
By the 2:00 a.m. NHC advisory, Irma had been downgraded to a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 85 mph. Irma is expected to reach Georgia by Monday afternoon, where it will encounter increasingly strong wind shear and quickly weaken. However, torrential rains are expected to produce inland flooding, with life-threatening flash floods, throughout much of the state.
AIR’s modeled insured loss estimates for the United States include wind and storm surge damage to onshore residential, commercial, and industrial properties and their contents, automobiles, and time element coverage (additional living expenses for residential properties and business interruption for commercial properties). AIR’s loss estimates do not include losses paid out by the National Flood Insurance Program, losses to uninsured properties, losses to inland marine, marine cargo and hull and pleasure boats, and losses to infrastructure.
AIR continues to monitor Hurricane Irma and will issue updates as warranted.
About AIR Worldwide
AIR Worldwide (AIR) provides risk modeling solutions that make individuals, businesses, and society more resilient to extreme events. In 1987, AIR Worldwide founded the catastrophe modeling industry and today models the risk from natural catastrophes, terrorism, pandemics, casualty catastrophes, and cyber attacks, globally. Insurance, reinsurance, financial, corporate, and government clients rely on AIR’s advanced science, software, and consulting services for catastrophe risk management, insurance-linked securities, site-specific engineering analyses, and agricultural risk management. AIR Worldwide, a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business, is headquartered in Boston with additional offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.air-worldwide.com.