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2016 wind re/insurance claims to rise on hurricane Matthew

17th January 2017 - Author: Luke Gallin

The impact from intense, high wind speeds as a result of hurricane Matthew, the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since 2007, is likely to result in increased wind insurance claims for 2016, according to analysis by CoreLogic.

An annual wind analysis report by global property information, analytics and data-enabled service provider, CoreLogic, shows that hurricane Matthew brought winds of up to 101 mph in 2016, and suggests that the presence of Matthew in October of last year will hike wind-related insurance claims.

“Wind can cause significant damage whether associated with an actual hurricane or not. Wind speeds of 92 mph, even without a hurricane – as seen in Tallahassee – can be a significant threat to life and property.

“Hurricane Matthew’s high winds will result in insurance claims related specifically to wind events, and with insurance industry estimates putting wind damage at 25 percent of all insurance claims each year, that percentage will likely be higher in 2016 due to Matthew,” said Curtis McDonald, Product Manager at CoreLogic.

During its approach to the U.S. coastline hurricane Matthew was, at times, looking likely to make landfall as a very strong, very damaging, and very costly event for the insurance and reinsurance industry. However, the track and intensity of the storm changed as it made landfall, and overall industry loss estimates are currently at roughly the $5 billion mark, with re/insurance industry losses in Florida alone still below $1 billion, according to the most recent update from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

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According to the CoreLogic report, the highest estimated wind speed in 2016, of 101 mph as recorded at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on October 6th, came from hurricane Matthew. In fact, the presence of hurricane Matthew meant that peak winds of 85mph+ were experienced in a number of U.S. cities, with an additional 171 cities experiencing peak winds of between 75 mph and 85 mph, from the storm.

Moving away from hurricane Matthew, the CoreLogic report explains that Nashville, Tennessee was the windiest U.S. city in 2016, after experiencing 21 wind-related events during the year, with a maximum wind speed of 72 mph.

It’s interesting that Nashville experienced the highest number of wind-related events last year despite the Gulf Coast continuing to endure a hurricane drought. This could suggest that strong, and severe thunderstorms are bringing more intense and potentially more damaging winds to cities like Nashville and Jackson, Mississippi, which also experienced 21 wind-related events in 2016.

Insurance and reinsurance industry loss estimates from hurricane Matthew continue to filter through to the marketplace, and the impact should become clearer as companies begin reporting their fourth-quarter 2016 results, and their Q4 catastrophe loss metrics.

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