RMS Florence estimate maxes out at $5bn

RMS has estimated insured losses from Hurricane Florence will be between $2.8bn and $5bn. The firm’s estimate includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), surge and inland flood losses, and wind damage. Between $800m and $1.2bn is attributable to the NFIP, an estimated $700m to $1.2bn was caused by surge and inland flood with a further $1.3bn to $2.6bn accounted for by wind damage. Estimates include both property damage and business interruption for residential, commercial, and auto lines of business. Roughly 70% of all flood losses are expected to be uninsured, RMS said. Moody’s Analytics has estimated overall economic losses to be between $38bn and $50bn, highlighting the insurance gap in the region. “We estimate $35bn to $45bn in property damage, with the majority of that coming from single-family homes,” reads a report from Moody’s Analytics, Ryan Sweet, head of monetary policy research, and Adam Kamins, senior regional economist. “The lost output associated with the storm now appears to be $3bn to $5bn,” the pair added. RMS’ estimates include post-loss amplification as prolonged recovery efforts are expected due to the severity of flooding across South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. Inflated claims volume may also lead to claims inflation. “We were fortunate that Florence weakened considerably before making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane. While wind-driven damages will still be sizable, the story of this storm is the flood impacts. Florence’s slow-moving nature brought historic rainfall and flooding to the Carolinas,” said Mohsen Rahnama, chief risk modelling officer at RMS. “Florence is yet another large inland flood event that exposes the protection gap for flood insurance in the US NFIP take-up rates are less than 1% for the vast majority of non-coastal counties in the North and South Carolinas. Thus, we expect much of the losses in interior portions of the region to be largely uninsured,” he added. AIR Worldwide has estimated Florence losses to be between $1.7bn and $4.6bn, while Karen Clark & Company has estimated losses from Florence to be $2.5bn. Neither AIR nor KCC’s estimates included losses to the NFIP.

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