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Verisk estimates Hurricane Idalia’s insured losses to range from $2.5bn to $4bn

4th September 2023 - Author: Akankshita Mukhopadhyay

Global data analytics and technology provider Verisk has estimated insured losses of $2.5 billion to $4 billion for Hurricane Idalia, a Category 3 hurricane that struck Florida on August 30.

The significant majority of these losses can be attributed to wind damage, with Verisk’s estimates factoring in both wind and insured storm surge damages along Idalia’s path.

Despite making landfall in a sparsely populated region of Florida’s Big Bend, the hurricane left a trail of destruction in its wake.

Key findings from Verisk’s report indicate that wind damage varied in severity across the affected areas, with notable damage observed in the Big Bend region of Florida, including Taylor and Suwanee counties.

This ranged from residential homes losing roof covers to commercial structures experiencing torn-up roof membranes. Downed trees, particularly large pine trees, have also contributed to cleanup costs and roof replacements in cities such as Tallahassee, Gainesville, Jacksonville, FL, Valdosta, and Savannah, GA.

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Manufactured homes in the Big Bend region of Florida, where Idalia made landfall, were especially vulnerable, with many suffering massive damage, including roof loss, wall siding damage, and near-total destruction due to wind and surge.

Coastal neighbourhoods, including Keaton Beach, Steinhatchee, Horseshoe Beach, and Cedar Key, FL, faced significant storm surge damage, including the destruction of manufactured homes and water-related damage to residential homes.

Verisk’s report also highlighted the impact of building codes on the extent of damage. The Big Bend region’s low design winds and exclusion from wind-borne debris requirements for buildings contributed to the severity of damage, particularly in older buildings predating the International Codes.

Compared to the previous year’s Hurricane Ian, Idalia impacted fewer buildings, alleviating some stress on the construction industry as rebuilding efforts commence in the coming weeks and months.

Verisk’s insured loss estimates include damages to onshore residential, commercial, and industrial properties, as well as automobiles, covering building, contents, and time element coverage.

However, these estimates do not encompass losses covered by the National Flood Insurance Program, litigation-related losses, storm surge leakage losses, precipitation-induced flooding losses, losses to uninsured properties, infrastructure losses, and various other non-modeled losses.

Earlier in September, catastrophe risk modeller Karen Clark & Company (KCC) had pegged privately insured losses from Hurricane Idalia at close to $2.2 billion, the majority of which relates to wind and storm surge impacts in the U.S.

Initial insured loss estimates from the impacts of Hurricane Idalia have ranged between $3 billion and $9 billion, with many suggesting a total towards the lower end of the range.

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