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Puerto Rico damage to push Maria losses to almost $30 billion

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Insured loss resulting from Hurricane Maria will be almost $30 billion, said Karen Clark & Co., the Boston-based modeling firm, early Friday.

The results from Clark’s high-resolution Caribbean Tropical Cyclone model show Puerto Rico with the most damage at $28.4 billion followed by U.S. Virgin Islands with $789 million in damage; Dominica at $445 million; Guadeloupe at $119 million; and other territories (British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Martinique, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Turks and Caicos) at $94 million, for a total of $29.8 billion.

The modeled estimates include wind losses to residential, commercial and industrial properties  and were increased by 20% to account for auto losses, insured flood damage and additional demand surge, according to the firm.

Maria is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico since the San Felipe II Hurricane in 1928, and strengthened from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in 15 hours, second only to Hurricane Wilma’s record of 12 hours. Maria is also the second Category 5 hurricane to hit the Leeward Islands this month 

Clark says Hurricane Maria was similar to the San Felipe II Hurricane that struck Puerto Rico in 1928, which passed over Guadeloupe just north of Dominica with Category 4 wind speeds and intensified to a Category 5 hurricane as it followed a similar track south of the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The newest estimates from Clark are more in line with figures released Wednesday by modeler Risk Management Solutions Inc., but somewhat lower than earlier estimates from AIR worldwide of up to $85 billion.