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Hurricane Barry estimated as $300m private re/insurance market loss: KCC


Hurricane Barry’s impacts on Louisiana and the surrounding area are expected to result in an insurance and reinsurance market loss of around $300 million, not including any NFIP flood insurance losses, according to Karen Clark & Company (KCC).

karen-clark-logoCatastrophe risk modelling specialist Karen Clark & Company (KCC) is as ever quick out of the blocks with an estimate for the impacts from a tropical storm.

Hurricane Barry, the second named storm of the 2019 Atlantic season, made landfall as a weak hurricane at the weekend on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, but the main impacts were seen to be water related, from torrential rainfall, storm surge and related flooding incidents.

Rainfall forecasts of up to 25 inches didn’t materialise, KCC said, with 3 to 6 inches widely experienced instead.

In addition, the landfall location of hurricane Barry saved New Orleans from worse impacts, as it had been thought that the levee tops could have been at risk.

“The insured losses for Hurricane Barry result from an accumulation of small losses over a large area,” KCC said. “Widespread isolated instances of damage caused by fallen trees occurred throughout southern Louisiana. Additional damage occurred close to the landfall point, including roof damage to residential buildings and more significant damage to small structures.

“Forecast rainfall as high as 25 inches did not occur, and as a result, excess rain did not add to the losses or additional flow to the Mississippi River, which prevented major levees from being overtopped in New Orleans, as had been initially feared. However, levees in less densely populated areas south of New Orleans, including in Plaquemines and Terrebonne Parishes, did overtop.

“Isolated flash flooding occurred with precipitation rates as heavy as three inches an hour. Additional flooding impacts may occur through July 17 with heavy rain bands continuing north through Arkansas and Tennessee.”

KCC said that it estimates the loss to insurance and reinsurance interests from hurricane Barry will be close to $300 million, which includes privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and automobiles.

It does not include National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) losses the company said.

As ever, early catastrophe risk modelled loss estimates need to be taken as directional, but this does give a good view of the potential impacts hurricane Barry will have on re/insurers and suggests little in the way of reinsurance market impact from the storm.

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