Canadian Underwriter

Frances toll could rival Andrew

September 2, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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Analysts are predicting devastation predicted to arise from Hurricane Frances’ arrival on U.S. soil this weekend could result in claims as high as those seen from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Andrew was the worst insured loss to result from the hurricane in U.S. history, with claims in 2004 dollars reaching US$20 billion.
One modeling agency, EQECAT Inc., says Frances could easily reach US$19 billion. The put the damage range, if Frances holds its current course as starting at US$9 billion.
With Frances expected to hit Florida’s east coast late Friday or early Saturday, more than a million residents have been asked to evacuate to higher ground.
Frances is a category 4 storm, the same level as Hurricane Charley, which hit Florida in mid-August causing an estimated US$7 billion in damages. However, Frances is much larger, weather experts say, and is on a track to more highly-populated areas, specifically Miami. In fact, Frances is currently twice the size of Andrew, leading some to conclude damages could even exceed the 1992 storm.
As of 8 p.m. Thursday night, Frances had hit San Salvador island with 120 mph winds and was headed toward Cat Island in the Bahamas. Storm surge of six to 14 feet above normal tides has been recorded, as well as rainfall of five to 10 inches.

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