Hurricane Matthew may have diminished in intensity over the weekend, but wind and flood damage was substantial. Early analysis suggests the storm caused between $4 billion and $6 billion in insured property losses alone, according to data analytics form CoreLogic.
CoreLogic’s estimate addresses wind and storm damage, but does not include insured losses stemming from additional flooding, business interruption or contents. As many as 1.5 residential and commercial properties will likely be impacted from Hurricane Matthew-related wind and storm surge before a post-storm assessment is done, according to the firm.
Out of the $4 billion to $6 billion estimate, 90 percent of insurance claims will likely stem from wind, CoreLogic said, and the remaining 10 percent will come from storm surge. Affected coastal properties essentially move up the coast, from Florida to Georgia and South Carolina.
While initial predictions for Hurricane Matthew suggested it could be a colossal Category 4 storm or worse once it hit land, it decreased to Category 1 once it hit land in the Carolinas. Likely insured losses also will pare compared to other major storms. Katrina in 2005 produced between $35 billion and $40 billion in estimated insured property losses, and 2012’s Superstorm Sandy left behind $15 billion to $20 billion, CoreLogic said.
CoreLogic added that tough Florida building codes, combined with structures made of masonry, wood and veneers, helped reduce total insured property losses compared to other major storms.
Reinsurers Can Handle Post-Matthew Costs: S&P
Another Hurricane Matthew-related development: reinsurers won’t necessarily be affected as strongly as initially thought.
While Hurricane Matthew has the potential to erode some of the global reinsurance sector’s excess capital, its overall capital position is not expected to deteriorate below the ‘AAA’ level, according to a report published by S&P Global Ratings.
If Matthew is a 1-in-100-year loss event, at an aggregate level, the industry could see an average reduction in total adjusted capital of about 10 percent, S&P affirmed.
Further, such an extreme loss event could lead to an average reduction in forecasted profit before tax of about 136 percent with an impact on the combined ratio of 19 percent points, the report continued.
On the other hand, if Matthew is a 1-in-50-year loss event, the sector’s pretax profit would fall by an average of about 95 percent, the combined ratio could deteriorate by 13 percentage points and total adjusted capital would drop by about 7 percent, said S&P, adding that about one quarter of rated reinsurers would likely suffer a net operating loss for the year.
What’s more, the global reinsurance sector maintains a solid capital buffer, S&P said. “At year-end 2015, the industry as a whole had excess capital of approximately $26 billion at the ‘AAA’ level,” the report continued.
Sources: CoreLogic, Standard & Poor’s