RMS: Hurricane Charley Insured Losses Could Top $15 Billion as Storm Moves

August 13, 2004

Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a provider of products and services for the management of catastrophe risk, has updated its forecast and loss estimates (See National news) for Hurricane Charley to reflect changes in the storm’s behavior on Friday.

The storm has been upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 145mph. Hurricane Charley was currently forecast to make landfall in the Charlotte Harbor area near 4 p.m. EDT on Friday. On its current path, hurricane force winds will also impact central and northern Florida as well as portions of the Georgia coast, contributing to total insured losses of $10 to $15 billion, or more.

In 1944, a strong Category 3 hurricane struck in the same area just south of Sarasota, Florida and also maintained hurricane strength along its northward course across Florida, with gusts of 100 mph reported in Tampa and Orlando. Orlando was one of the hardest hit of all inland cities. The 1944 hurricane entered the Atlantic Ocean near Jacksonville and maintained a northward course close to the Georgia Coast with damage resulting from both strong winds and high surge levels along the northern Florida and Georgia coastline.

While the track of the 1944 hurricane was very similar to forecasts for Charley, it was a less intense storm at landfall. RMS estimates that a recurrence of the 1944 hurricane would cause more than $10 billion in insured losses today.

Scenario loss estimates shown here for Hurricane Charley do not include additional losses expected in the Caribbean (Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba).

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