Risk modeller EQECAT are the first to announce an estimated insured loss figure for the tornado which struck the city of Joplin, Missouri yesterday. As we wrote yesterday, we suspected that the storm was going to contribute a sizeable loss to the aggregate losses which have been mounting in this record U.S. tornado season, and that there is some risk of catastrophe bonds accumulating further aggregate losses from the event.
According to EQECAT this tornado was an extremely intense storm with winds reported of up to 198mph. The death toll from the tornado has now reached over 116 and reports suggest that this was the deadliest single tornado to hit the U.S. since 1947.
Preliminary reports state that up to a quarter of the building stock (2,000) in Joplin could have been destroyed and EQECAT estimate that 50-75% could have been damaged. As a result of the scale of this tornado EQECAT released a preliminary estimate of insured losses in the range of $1 billion to $3 billion.
An event of that size is sure to count towards aggregate losses for any exposed severe thunderstorm cat bonds, with Mariah Re and Residential Re 2009 both possible candidates for this storm to qualify as an event for.