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Maria losses in Caribbean likely to top $1 billion


Insured losses in the Caribbean from Hurricane Maria will likely top $1 billion, and economic losses could be much more severe, according to Impact Forecasting’s “Weekly Cat Report September 22, 2017,” issued by the Aon Benfield unit early Friday.

This even as much of the storm’s damage remains to be discovered.

“With Hurricane Maria still an active system that is impacting multiple territories, it remains too early to provide any specific economic or insured loss estimate,” Impact said Friday. “The catastrophic scope of damage caused by the storm is going to simply take time to be fully assessed,” as communications channels remain badly compromised.

The report went on to say, however, that the “combined economic cost of damage and direct business interruption throughout the Caribbean is expected to well exceed $1.0 billion.”

Indications suggest much of the damage may be thinly insured.

“With insurance penetration levels remaining low on many impacted islands, it is expected that a large portion of the economic damage will not be covered,” the report said.

The deadly earthquake that struck Mexico Sept. 19 will also likely exceed $1 billion in insured loss, Impact said, citing figures from the United States Geological Survey.

“The USGS Pager system, which rapidly assesses earthquake impacts by comparing the population exposed to each level of shaking intensity with models of economic losses based on past events in the relevant country or region, estimated that there was at least a 49% chance that economic losses due to the September 19 temblor will exceed $1.0 billion,” the Impact report said.

Figures also showed a 14% likelihood of economic losses in the range of $10 billion to $100 billion and a 46% chance of losses being less than $1.0 billion, the report said.

Typhoons Doksuri (Sept. 9) and Tallam (Sept. 6) caused hundreds and tens of millions in economic losses in Asia, respectively, but the report did not provide insured loss estimates.