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Hurricane Matthew claims up 10% to $803m in Florida


Reported insurance or reinsurance claims from damage suffered in the state of Florida due to hurricane Matthew have risen by another 10%, now reaching $803 million, according to a new update from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

Hurricane Matthew's waves (image from LiveScience)The toll due to hurricane Matthew, which raked the Florida coastline in early October, has been rising steadily as insurance claims come in.

At the beginning of December the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported that claims had reached $729 million, but in the month that followed further claims have been both filed and settled and now the total Florida insurance industry loss from hurricane Matthew sits at $803 million.

As of Friday January 6th 2017 84.6% of hurricane Matthew insurance claims have been closed, with 56,488 closed and paid, while 41,310 have been closed with no payment.

However there remains 17,762 filed claims still open, which means there is the potential for the loss in Florida from hurricane Matthew to rise further before the final insurance and subsequently reinsurance bill can be fully understood.

Residential homeowner property claims continue to make up the majority of the loss, with now 97,926 filed (up nearly 4% since December), 48,962 closed and paid out, resulting in 88.2% of all residential claims now being closed.

In commercial property insurance, where claims can take longer to be investigated and paid,  5,953 claims have been filed (which is down over 2% since December) and 827 now closed and paid out. There remain a significant number of commercial property insurance claims still open and only 41.1% of these claims have been closed down to date.

Commercial residential property claims have been the next slowest segment to resolve, with only 44.4% of claims closed.

Reinsurance capital is set to pay for a relatively significant proportion of the loss from hurricane Matthew, including capital market investors through some ILS funds which have reserved for the event, a number of collateralised reinsurance covers and also some reinsurance sidecar vehicles which have attritional exposure to losses from the hurricane in Florida and other southeastern U.S. states.

Industry loss estimates for hurricane Matthew continue to suggest that the insurance and reinsurance market could pay for somewhere up to $5 billion of damages suffered in the U.S. and the Bahamas, but with Florida claims still remaining below one billion dollars the final loss looks set to be nearer the lower end of estimates.

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