Hurricane Dennis Losses Estimated at $900 Million in Four S.E. States

July 26, 2005

Insurance companies are expected to pay policyholders in four states $900 million on claims for insured property losses from Hurricane Dennis according to damage estimates released by the Florida Insurance Council and compiled by Property Claim Services, the New Jersey-based subsidiary of Insurance Service Office. PCS estimates are based upon actual claims processed by adjusters on the ground in affected areas.

PCS estimates Hurricane Dennis will generate slightly more than 126,000 claims from homeowners and businesses in all of the states, including 85,000 claims in Florida.

The statistics show Florida suffered $640 million in losses to residential and commercial property, and auto; followed by Alabama ($115 million); Georgia ($85 million); and Mississippi ($60 million).

Sam Miller, Executive Vice President of the Florida Insurance Council, said “These figures represent only one part of the work to be done to help property owners get back on their feet in the aftermath of any storm,” Sam Miller, FIC executive vice president said. “Our agents and adjusters remain in affected areas, working with property owners to help them recover their losses. That work will continue for the immediate near future. In the meantime, we will all be praying that there is no repeat of last year’s back-to-back storms that hampered recovery efforts.”

Here are some Florida-specific numbers from the estimates released today: Personal Property, 60,000 claims, $450 million; Commercial Property, 13,000 claims, $130 million; Auto, 12,000 claims, $60 million. There were 85,000 claims totaling $640 million.

Miller said Citizens Property Insurance Corporation on Monday announced computer-modeled estimates of $145 million in statewide losses from Hurricane Dennis. He said, Bob Ricker, Citizens executive director, emphasized that the estimate does not represent actual recorded or paid losses and are subject to change as Citizens continues to respond to the storm.

Ricker noted that catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Dennis was often limited to coastal storm surge effects, which is not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies, including those provided by Citizens.

Dennis made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane just west of Pensacola, Fla., and then moved further inland to Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.

Dennis caused much less damage than each of last year’s “fab four” hurricanes, but nearly matched this year’s second-quarter nationwide catastrophe loss of $920 million, PCS reported.

According to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, the four hurricanes from 2004 generated $21.7 billion in payments from insurance companies, 1.7 million claims and another $1.6 billion in losses covered by consumer deductibles.

OIR has developed a breakdown of Florida insured losses and claims by storm (not including the deductible numbers): Charley, 484,000 claims and $7.5 billion; Frances, 540,000 claims and $5.3 billion; Ivan, 212,000 and $2.9 billion; and Jeanne, 430,000 and $4.1 billion.

PCS estimates represent anticipated insured loss on an industry-wide basis arising from catastrophes, reflecting the total insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, personal property, vehicles, boats, related property items, business interruption and additional living expenses. The estimates exclude loss adjustment expenses.

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