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Catastrophe modeler addresses impact of 100-year hurricane

Posted On: Jun. 3, 2014 12:00 AM CST

Catastrophe modeler addresses impact of 100-year hurricane

Karen Clark & Co. issued a white paper this week that is designed to give insurers new and more precise information about loss potential in the event of a major hurricane catastrophe.

“The 100 Year Hurricane” from the Boston-based catastrophe modeler introduces a new metric, the 100-year Characteristic Event, which can be used to complement the probable maximum loss figures currently used by insurers.

The paper defines the 100-year hurricane as a Category 5 storm and postulates its formation and landfall in Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida. A Category 5 hurricane is defined as having peak sustained winds in excess of 155 mph.

The white paper says that three category five storms have struck the U.S. coast since 1900 with peak wind speeds estimated between 165 mph and 180 mph.

Such a storm is then “floated” along the U.S. coastline, said Ms. Clark in an interview, and damages are estimated every 10 miles, thus displaying any disparities in damages based on population concentrations and other variables at individual landfall points.

“So, it's the hundred year hurricane, and then we float that along the coast to show a company 'what would your losses be if that 100 year hurricane happened',” said Ms. Clark in an interview. This would allow each insurer to see any concentrations of exposure and potential market share of any modeled losses at an individual landfall point.

“Insurers can see where their individual concentrations are,” said Ms. Clark. “What would their losses be and what would their market share be from those events.”