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Insured loss estimate from Irene rises to $4.3 billion


(Reuters)—An insurance industry service that tracks catastrophe losses has sharply raised its estimates for August's Hurricane Irene, projecting insured property damage of $4.3 billion from the first hurricane to hit the United States in three years.

The Insurance Services Offices Inc.’s Property Claim Services unit, which bases its estimates on confidential insurer surveys and its own database of houses across the country, raised its estimate by nearly 18% from its previous report in late September.

Irene caused substantial damage from the Carolinas through New England, prompting evacuations of parts of New York. It generated some 855,000 insurance claims, PCS said, averaging just slightly more than $5,000 per claim.

PCS said the greatest damage was in New Jersey and North Carolina, at $915 million and $900 million, respectively. In total, 14 states had damage of at least $10 million and eight states had damage in excess of $100 million.

The estimates do not include uninsured property, nor do they include flood damage that is insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. In some states, such as Vermont, flood losses were more severe than other kinds of damage.

PCS released its report Tuesday and said it would publish a revision in two months.

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