AIR Worldwide has updated its estimates of insured losses from post-tropical cyclone Sandy to between US$16 billion and US$22 billion.
The updated estimate is a result of the latest available information on surge height and extent from the U.S. Geological Survey, surface wind speed observation data, and findings from AIR’s post-disaster survey teams, notes a statement from the catastrophe modeller.
The higher estimated losses – up from US$5 billion to US$15 billion the day after Sandy made landfall in New Jersey – follows an increase in estimated losses from storm surge damage, Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, notes in the statement. “This, in turn, is driven by a reassessment of the percentage of flood losses that will actually be paid, as well as an improved storm surge footprint run against high-resolution industry exposure information.”
AIR reports the estimates 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).
Selected notable factors influencing the updated estimates include the following:
- Commercial Flood Insurance Penetration: Although AIR’s default assumption is that 10% of commercial structures carry flood insurance, further investigation into how storm surge losses will be covered under Sandy has led to an assumption of 20% as more applicable. As such, the above range of losses reflects the assumption that 20% of the damage from the storm surge to commercial and industrial properties will be covered.
- Homeowners Deductibles: In AIR’s initial loss estimates, hurricane deductibles were applied based on a National Hurricane Center public advisory that stated the storm had transitioned from a hurricane to a post-tropical cyclone. In the days following landfall, officials in several states ruled insurers may not impose hurricane deductibles on homeowners policies in their jurisdictions.