Insurance industry losses from recent hurricane Elsa’s impacts in the Caribbean and the United States are estimated to be less than $350 million, by catastrophe risk modelling firm Karen Clark & Company (KCC).
For the Caribbean specifically, KCC expects the insurance market loss from hurricane Elsa will be less than $50 million, with damage largely from wind.
For the United States, KCC pegs hurricane Elsa’s insurance market impact at between $240 million and $290 million, with impacts mainly from wind and storm surge losses.
KCC’s estimate of less than $350 million of industry losses for the insurance and reinsurance industry from hurricane Elsa’s relatively long-tracked impacts includes privately insured wind and storm surge damage to residential, commercial, and industrial properties and automobiles.
We say relatively long-tracked, as the impacts from hurricane Elsa began down at the Caribbean Windward islands, where islands like St Lucia took quite a hit from the storm.
The low-level of insurance penetration is once again evident there, as St Lucia’s government had cited a few hundred million dollars of costs, largely to agriculture and property.
There’s also the US impacts, which began in the Florida Keys and continued right the way up to New York, with significant rainfall experienced in areas such as Manhattan.
But as hurricane Elsa did not strike land as a significant hurricane and most of its US impacts were below hurricane level, the overall industry loss will not be a significant challenge for any player it seems and losses will be largely contained in the primary market, with any reinsurance leakage likely through quota shares in the main.
KCC explained the impacts of hurricane Elsa:
Impacts in the Caribbean
Elsa brought hurricane force winds to portions of the Lesser Antilles, including Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent. This resulted in downed trees, power outages, and damage to roof coverings and other exterior elements. In Barbados, more than 1,100 instances of structural damage were reported, including 62 collapsed homes. In St. Lucia, strong winds removed the roof covering and damaged the siding of a secondary school.
Tropical storm force winds caused some damage in portions of Hispaniola and Jamaica. Apart from impacting agricultural lands, light wind damage included downed trees and power lines and blown-off roof coverings. Only minimal structural damage from high winds occurred in Cuba, since the storm made landfall near a natural park with a low population density.
Impacts in the US
Tropical storm force winds impacted the Florida Keys and much of the Florida Gulf coast. Due to it being a lightly populated area, damage where the storm made landfall in Taylor County was not extensive. Much of the damage that did occur was the result of downed trees and power lines.
Some minor damage occurred in Levy County, Florida, including the removal of a hotel’s roof and downed powerlines. Some isolated structural damage also occurred as a result of an EF-1 tornado caused by Elsa in the San Jose neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida. The tornado downed trees and powerlines and caused damage to exterior structural elements, sheds, and fences. Some storm surge was recorded at Cedar Key, but structural damage from storm surge was not reported.
Tropical storm force winds caused scattered damage across the coastal southeastern US, including downed trees and powerlines in Georgia and the Carolinas. Tropical-cyclone-induced tornados caused more isolated instances of damage. This included an EF-2 tornado flipping trailers and RVs and damaging other structures at a naval submarine base in Georgia.
Minor wind damage including downed trees and powerlines impacted the northeastern US, including Long Island and coastal Connecticut and New Jersey.