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Hurricane Irma’s toll in the Caribbean coming to light

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Preliminary loss estimates for Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean are beginning to emerge, according to a blog post by Paul Wilson, vice president of model development for Risk Management Solutions Inc.

Saint Maarten and Saint Martin have approximately $6.6 billion total insured value combined and could have experienced a 30% loss, according to the Thursday post on the website of the Newark, California-based catastrophe modeling firm.

Total insured values in Anguilla are around $1.6 billion, with preliminary modeling indicating the potential for 50% damage. Barbuda has lower insured exposure, at less than $200 million, but has experienced even more severe damage, potentially upward of 90%, Mr. Wilson wrote.

“This morning, the RMS Event Response team has started to assess major damage in the Caribbean caused by Hurricane Irma, which has become the strongest Atlantic hurricane on record,” the blog said. “It is already clear that damage ratios are high, particularly in Barbuda.”

“RMS is keen to provide modeling for U.S. impacts as early as possible. At this stage, we anticipate that the situation and forecasts will be sufficiently clear by tomorrow (Friday) for this to happen.”

Mr. Wilson adds that “this is all preliminary and information from the ground remains uncertain. More information will come to light in the near term as reconnaissance efforts continue. RMS believes that due to the continuing and frequent evolution of the forecasts and uncertainty around an eventual U.S. landfall later this weekend, it is too early to begin specifically modeling Irma’s potential industry-wide impact on the U.S.”