No question about it: Hurricane Gonzalo did some big-time damage when it hit Bermuda on Oct. 17. Two catastrophe-modeling firms are already estimating that insured losses will be substantial.
EQECAT estimates $300 million in insured losses, about the scale caused by Hurricane Fabian in 2003. Both storms were similar, it noted in an Oct. 20 bulletin, as sustained winds from Gonzalo reached 110 miles per hour, while Fabian generated peak winds of 114 mph. This is even with increase in values and limits in the 11 years between the two events, EQECAT said.
AIR Worldwide, meanwhile, estimated on Oct. 22 that insured losses caused by Hurricane Gonzalo will range between $200 million and $400 million. That’s based on a tropical cyclone model AIR Worldwide uses for the Caribbean, which incorporates track and intensity information from NHC advisories, vortex reports from hurricane hunter aircraft, and wind observations from stations in Bermuda, it said. AIR Worldwide insured loss estimates include things such as physical damage to onshore property and loss to content/industrial facilities and business interruption. They do not include factors such as losses to infrastructure, boats or losses from hazardous waste cleanup or vandalism.
Similarly, AIR Worldwide compared the storm to 2003’s Hurricane Fabian, which tracked just west of Bermuda and had slightly higher winds but similar damage costs.
AIR Worldwide estimated that the center of Gonzalo hit the south-central coast of Bermuda and that the storm itself stretched out in a large 30-mile radius. But AIR Worldwide said that the storm weakened from a Category 3 hurricane before landfall because of lower sea surface temperatures and higher wind shear near Bermuda.
EQECAT and AIR Worldwide pointed out that the storm went on to produce tropical storm conditions and heavy rains in Newfoundland in Canada, and then northern Scotland and parts of Europe.
Sources: EQECAT and AIR Worldwide