Canadian Underwriter

Will Hurricane Larry meet the cat threshold?

September 14, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Losses to Canadian clients, from Hurricane Larry, seem to be comprised mainly of wind damage to residential property on Newfoundland Avalon’s peninsula, according to reports from adjusters so far.

Hurricane Larry, which originated in the North Atlantic Ocean, passed by Bermuda last week and made landfall early Saturday morning roughly 100 kilometres west of St. John’s, Nfld. One weather station reported gusts of more than 180 kilometres an hour, while sustained winds of 130 to 140 km/h were reported.

In St. John’s, some trees came down and knocked out power or damaged homes, said Michael Connolly, Halifax-based district manager for Nova Scotia and Newfoundland at independent adjusting firm ClaimsPro.

“We are primarily seeing fences, roof damage and siding,” Connolly said Tuesday. “For the most part, it seems to be residential property. There are some commercial losses coming in. The rain itself was minimal. So the only real water damage that we are seeing, outside of some storm surge claims, are related to missing shingles or roof damage where the rain water was allowed to enter.”

Hurricane Larry made landfall at 3:45 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time (1:15 a.m. Newfoundland and Labrador time) Sept. 11 near South East Bight, the United States National Hurricane Centre reported. That is on the west side of Placentia Bay.

The storm moved northeast at about 75 kilometres an hour and was well offshore by Saturday morning.

“I think we are lucky it moved as quickly as it did,” said Kent Rowe, St. John’s-based president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.

“It was a pretty fast-moving storm. If it had stalled at all, we would have been in trouble for sure,” Rowe told Canadian Underwriter Sunday. By day, Rowe works in St. John’s as vice president of Wedgwood/Magnes Group, a brokerage that places, home, commercial and auto insurance.

Both Rowe and Connolly told Canadian Underwriter it is too early to tell whether the hurricane will be a catastrophe event, meaning there is $25 million or more in insured losses.

As of Tuesday, Connolly was not aware of any marine claims reported to ClaimsPro.

“Our marine division is on standby in the event that we do hear of anything. But this storm was so well forecasted, that I think most of the yacht clubs, and anyone with boats, had ample time to secure their vessels.”

When Larry made landfall, hurricane-force winds (maximum sustained of more than 119 kilometres per hour) extended 165 kilometres from the centre while there were tropical-storm-force winds (maximum sustained of 63 to 118 kilometres per hour) 400 kilometres from the centre, the U.S. National Hurricane Centre reported.

The storm then moved over took Clarenville and Bonavista, Rowe noted.


Feature image: A tree is seen downed after Hurricane Larry crossed over Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula in the early morning hours, in St. John’s, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

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