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Insured losses from Hurricane Ida could hit $21 billion: CoreLogic


Insured flood and wind losses from Hurricane Ida are estimated at between $14 billion and $21 billion, according to CoreLogic Inc.

The Irvine, California-based provider of property information to underwriters said Wednesday that insured flood losses for residential and commercial properties in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are estimated to be between $6 billion and $9 billion, which includes both storm surge and inland flooding. Insured wind losses are estimated at $8 billion to $12 billion.

Hurricane Ida made landfall Sunday less than 40 miles away from where Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005, but the two storms were substantially different, said Tom Larsen, principal, insurance solutions, at CoreLogic, who compared Ida with Katrina and Hurricane Harvey.

“While only 40% to 50% of the flood damages from Hurricane Ida appear to be covered by insurance, this is actually an improvement from the uninsured flood damages we saw from Hurricanes Harvey and Katrina,” Mr. Larsen said.

More than 90% of the losses are estimated to be in Louisiana, primarily in the nine parishes in the New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond metropolitan area and in Ascension, Lafourche, Livingston and Terrebonne parishes immediately to the west, CoreLogic said.

Also Wednesday, Karen Clark & Co. estimated insured losses from Hurricane Ida will be close to $18 billion, with $40 million in the Caribbean and the rest from wind and storm surge losses in the U.S.

Coastal areas of Louisiana saw significant structural damage to commercial and residential buildings from damaging winds, and low-level wind damage extended farther inland into southern Mississippi, KCC said.

Significant structural damage and downed trees and power lines were reported throughout the southeastern coastal Louisiana region including Terrebonne, Lafourche and Jefferson parishes. Some buildings, including schools and hospitals, in the area saw shattered windows and major damage including complete roof and wall collapse.

In New Orleans, major structural damage from strong hurricane force winds was In most cases limited to older homes and businesses. The failure of all eight of the city’s transmission lines and the collapse of a transmission tower into the Mississippi River knocked out power for the entire city on Sunday.

Losses in Cuba and the Cayman Islands were limited to non-structural damage, downed trees and power outages.

Hurricane Ida made two landfalls — the first on Aug. 27 near La Columba, Cuba, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, then on Aug. 29 near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.

Ida weakened once inland and was downgraded to a tropical storm early on Aug. 30 near the Louisiana-Mississippi border;  later that day it became a tropical depression.

Peak storm surge from Hurricane Ida exceeded eight feet along the Louisiana coast as the majority of the New Orleans levee system kept the potentially damaging inundation at bay with some exceptions as when water overtopped a small levee near Lafitte.

In a note Tuesday, Piper Sandler Research said early model indications show insured losses of around $15 billion to $25 billion but noted these figures were “uncertain” given Ida had just made landfall.

Most industry sources agree that assessing Ida’s total cost will take months.

The Piper Sandler research shed some light on how losses might be distributed across the industry’s main players based on their respective reinsurance positions.

Chubb Ltd, for example, has a $1 billion retention in the U.S. but also sells reinsurance for which losses are hard to predict, Piper said.

American International Group Inc. has a complicated reinsurance program, according to Piper Sandler. It has a $1.275 billion per occurrence for personal lines, with attachment points varying between $50 million and $150 million. It has a per occurrence of $1 billion in excess of $500 million for southwest U.S. and Gulf states. AIG also sells reinsurance through its operations including Validus Re, which has a $475 million limit in excess of $300 million.

Travelers Cos. Inc. buys relatively little reinsurance. It has coverage for 75% of losses in excess of $3 billion up to $5 billion.



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