Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s costliest storm ever

New York
CNN business

Hurricane Ian may have caused $47 trillion in insured losses, according to the latest estimate, making it the costliest storm in the state’s history.

CoreLogic, a research firm that estimates losses from natural disasters, released its damage estimate as of Thursday night. The estimates combine insured losses through private insurance, which typically covers wind damage, and through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, which covers water damage.

CoreLogic’s estimates range from $22 billion to $32 billion in wind damage and an additional $6 billion to $15 trillion in flood damage. So the total, the low end of the combined estimate, would be $28 billion — well above the $26.5 billion in losses caused by Hurricane Andrew, which hit South Florida in 1992 and has since ranked as the state’s costliest storm.

But that estimate of Andrew’s losses, from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, represents the cost of 30 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, Andrew’s cost in 2022 dollars would be $55.7 billion.

However, if CoreLogic’s estimates prove accurate, adjusted for inflation Ian would be the second costliest storm in the state.

The costliest U.S. storm on record remains Hurricane Katrina, which caused $108 trillion in damage in 2005, according to NOAA. Today adjusted for inflation $163 billion.

More than 20 deaths have been attributed to Hurricane Ian since Friday morning. The death toll is expected to rise as emergency workers search for and find victims of the storm.

“A record number of homes and properties were lost due to the intense and destructive characteristics of Hurricane Ian,” said Tom Larsen, associate vice president of CoreLogic’s Risk and Risk Management unit. “Hurricane Ian will forever change the real estate industry and city infrastructure. Insurers will go into bankruptcy, homeowners will be forced into delinquency, and insurance will be less affordable in states like Florida.”

Ian made landfall on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 150 mph. Those high winds were therefore losses attributed to homeowner policies.

But it also rained heavily. Some areas received 12 inches of rain, which is estimated to be a 1,000-year event. And there was also extensive flood damage as flooding from the Gulf of Mexico hit land, flooding streets and homes.

But most homes in the storm’s path that suffered flood damage do not have flood insurance to pay homeowners for those losses. So the dollar loss can far exceed the insured loss.

While Florida has more flood insurance policies than any other state, only about 13 percent of homes statewide have insurance, and only 18 percent of those living in counties that had mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders before the storm, according to the actuarial analysis. company Milliman.

Many people who do not live in designated flood plains do not get flood insurance because the mortgage lender does not require coverage. But even so, many of these homes could be damaged by flooding, especially with the historic flooding caused by this storm. Even among homes in the flood plain in Hurricane Ian’s path, only 47 percent of homes had flood insurance, according to Milliman.

Loss estimates do not include the damage Ian could do as it passes through the Carolinas on Friday and Saturday. After passing over Florida on Wednesday night, it re-strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic, and is now poised to make landfall in South Carolina on Friday.