Canadian Underwriter

RMS predicts US$500 million or more in losses from Isabel

September 17, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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Risk modeling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS) is predicting that Hurricane Isabel, which has not yet hit the U.S. coast, could cause as much as US$500 million in insured damage. This depends on the storm maintaining its current tracked, headed for the coast of North Carolina.
But the damage will be much more severe if the storm makes landfall further north, striking the Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay regions. Insurers could face a price tag as high as US$2 billion.
The hurricane is currently on the border of a category 2-3 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Isabel is expected to make landfall in the U.S. on Thursday afternoon, but is currently more than 600 miles off the coast, packing winds of 170 mph.
The storm could top 1994’s Hurricane Floyd in terms of intensity and thousands of people are currently evacuating either voluntarily or by local government order from the North Carolina and Virginia coastline.
“There is continuing uncertainty around Hurricane Isabel’s intensity at landfall and its track,” says Brian Owens, meteorologist and director of technical marketing at RMS. “But the meteorological factors that have been guiding Isabel’s track, including a high pressure system over the Northeast, are expected to remain stable, steering Isabel away from the areas of higher exposure further to the north.”
The storm is expected to make an impact in Canada starting Friday, when residents of southern Ontario and Quebec can anticipate strong winds and upwards of 30 millimeters of rain, possible causing flooding. Local adjusters are preparing for the storm, with Cunningham Lindsay Canada noting that it is preparing to activate its catastrophe services should the storm produce significant claims.

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