Insured Losses from Tropical Storm Talas Estimated Between $150M to $600M

September 8, 2011

Insured losses from Tropical Storm Talas will be range between $150 million and $600 million, according to Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide.

Talas is the season’s 12th named storm, the seventh severe tropical storm and the fifth typhoon of the 2011 Pacific typhoon season.

“Record rainfall fell on central and western Japan and wide sections of the country experienced damaging winds. On Monday, September 5, Talas finally moved offshore into the Sea of Japan,” said Dr. Peter Sousounis, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide.

Though a weak storm at landfall, Talas was unusually large, with tropical storm force winds extending outwards up to 600 kilometers. The storm was record-setting: it broke Japan’s previous rainfall record and exceeded the yearly average of precipitation that falls over the city of Tokyo.

“After making landfall, Talas moved into an area of moderate wind shear (15-20 knots); this shear—located along the western edge of a deep-layered subtropical ridge—slowed the storm considerably,” continued Dr. Sousounis. “Since Talas was slow-moving, taking a full day to track across Japan, which is almost twice as long as had been forecast, its heavy precipitation was particularly damaging.”

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) reports that roughly 3,000 homes have experienced inundation above the first floor level and more than 13,000 homes have experienced inundation below the first-floor level.

Dr. Sousounis commented, “The majority of damage from Talas has been on the Kii Peninsula, in central Japan. The peninsula includes Wakayama Prefecture, the location of most of Talas’s fatalities so far, and Okayama Prefecture, located just west of the cities of Kobe, Osaka, and Kyoto. Okayama Prefecture, which was in the direct path of Talas, has sustained the heaviest property damage. In Tokyo, to the northeast of Kii Peninsula, roads have been flooded.”

Modern structures withstood Talas’ forecast wind speeds with minimal damage, again, making the primary concern from Tropical Storm Talas flood damage. Flood damage in Japan is not automatically included in wind policies, according to AIR. In typical flood policies, a specified payout is made only when the actual damage falls within a specified range.

Source: AIR Worldwide

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