AIR Estimates Philippines Typhoon Insured Losses under $150 Million

October 19, 2010

Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimates that insured losses to onshore properties in the Philippines from Super Typhoon Megi will likely be less than 6.5 billion Philippine pesos ($150 million.

AIR said its “loss estimates reflect insured damage to property (residential, commercial, industrial), and contents. Crop losses are not included. While the storm was one of the strongest to hit the Philippines in years, the typhoon steered away from metro Manila, where the highest concentration of insured properties is located. Overall the penetration of insurance in the Philippines is estimated at only 15 percent.”

Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, explained: “Commercial properties in the Philippines are generally constructed of reinforced concrete and are expected to sustain some wind-borne debris damage to glazing and outer cladding at these wind speeds. Light metal commercial structures and signage will likely sustain moderate to significant damage.

“Although residential properties in the coastal regions of central Luzon are commonly constructed of masonry or reinforced concrete, poor construction practices and low-quality materials may lead to more significant damage, involving loss of the roof covering and damage to non structural elements, such as cladding and glazing. However, a high proportion of residential losses are not expected to be insured.”

AIR noted that, although the insured losses are minimized, the storm caused considerable damage. The report stated: “Flooding has been reported in the coastal provinces of Cagayan and Isabela where rain fell at a rate of 50-60 millimeters (1.97 inches per hour). Sections of northern Luzon accumulated more than a foot of precipitation. Landslides have been reported in mountainous areas while coastal areas have been hit by swells, storm surges and large waves. The heavy rain has the potential to submerge important crops, namely rice, and it has been estimated that the agricultural sector could lose over 600,000 metric tons of their rice crop in coming months.

“Damage to infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and power and communications networks, could lead to losses from the interruption of business activities.”

After exiting the Philippines, Megi is forecast to weaken considerably and then re-intensify over warmer warmers before making a second landfall along the Chinese coast next Saturday.

Dr. Sousounis added: “The Philippines is particularly prone to late season activity, given its location within the basin. Ten of the top twelve deadliest typhoons in Philippine History have struck the Philippines in October or later; seven of them occurring in November or December. These typhoons can also be very intense typically reaching Category 4 or 5 (e.g., Super Typhoon) status.”

Source: AIR Worldwide

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