Declared Disaster, Hurricane Hermine Losses Not Likely to Exceed $400M

October 3, 2016

President Barack Obama has officially declared a major disaster for areas in Florida affected by Hurricane Hermine.

A news release says Obama signed the disaster declaration last week. The president’s action makes federal funding available to residents and businesses in Citrus, Dixie, Hernando, Hillsborough, Leon, Levy, Pasco and Pinellas counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Hermine. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jeff Schmaltz,
Hermine. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens and Jeff Schmaltz,

Hurricane Hermine made landfall Sept. 2 in Florida’s Big Bend with 80-mph winds. Coastal communities were forced to evacuate, and some areas went without power for a week.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say damage surveys are continuing, and additional counties may be designated for assistance.

RMS, a global catastrophe risk management firm, estimates that the insured loss associated with wind and coastal flooding from Hurricane Hermine will not exceed $400 million.

This figure includes property damage and business interruption caused by wind and coastal flooding to residential, commercial, industrial properties, and auto lines of business. RMS estimates that residential insured losses represent approximately 60-70 percent of the total insured loss. Post-event loss amplification is not expected to be a factor from Hurricane Hermine.

RMS calculations are based on its hazard reconstructions of Hermine’s windfield and storm surge using version 16.0 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models. The reconstructions show that on average approximately 30 percent of the event loss is associated with coastal flooding, including coverage leakage, in addition to an escalation in claims severity for wind-only policies in situations where wind and water hazards co-exist in residential lines of business.

“Hermine produced damage within the expectations of a category 1 hurricane and RMS analysis shows that this event won’t severely impact the insurance industry. Although Hermine was the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in eleven years, it did not end Florida’s drought of major hurricane (category 3-5) landfalls,” said Tom Sabbatelli, hurricane modeller at RMS.

This estimate does not include losses to the National Flood Insurance Program. In addition, losses associated with inland flooding are not included, but are expected to be a minimal contribution to the total insurance industry loss.

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