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Hurricane Matthew insured losses could reach $8.8 billion


Hurricane Matthew damage in Kitty Hawk NC

Insured losses for Hurricane Matthew in the United States and the Caribbean are estimated between $2.8 billion and $8.8 billion, according to AIR Worldwide.

Matthew passed through the Windward Islands and Barbados as a tropical storm on Sept. 28 before gaining hurricane strength the next day and becoming the fifth hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, according to the Boston-based catastrophe modeling firm.

Matthew reached its peak intensity by Oct. 1 as a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 160 miles per hour and hit Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas as a Category 4 storm. AIR on Thursday estimated insured losses in the Caribbean in the range from $600 million to $2 billion.

Insured losses for the United States resulting from Matthew range from $2.2 billion to $6.8 billion, according to AIR. Matthew weakened as it proceeded along the coast of the United States, but affected five U.S. states — Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia — with power outages affecting millions of homes and businesses. In some locations, Matthew’s winds were upward of 100 miles per hour, the storm surge reached 9 feet, and as much as 17 inches of rain was reported.

An estimate by Irvine, California-based CoreLogic Inc. released on Oct. 8 pegged insured property losses for both residential and commercial properties between $4 billion and $6 billion from wind and storm damage, with 90% of the insurance claims expected to be related to wind damage. This estimate did not include insured losses related to additional flooding, business interruption or contents, according to the company.