October 18, 2016

How Much Will Hurricane Matthew Cost?

Counting the Cost of Hurricanes Whenever disaster strikes, people often wonder: What’s all this going to cost? Though the human toll of injury and death may be incalculable, experts have gotten pretty good at estimating the economic costs of lost production and physical damage due to major storms. According to one economist, about two-thirds of the financial losses of a hurricane are related to property damage while one-third come from economic losses. The insurance costs of property damage due to Matthew’s wind and storm surge are currently estimated to be between $4 billion and $6 billion, though those figures may rise as claims start rolling in. The chart below shows storm damage estimates for four major hurricanes since 1979. We can see that Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina dwarf Matthew regarding overall damage. However, Matthew is estimated to have a higher percentage of losses due to wind damage, which could have implications for insurance companies. Damage from storm-caused wind and surge is typically covered under standard homeowner’s and business policies, though they are often subject to high deductibles. One estimate of Matthew’s overall cost, including evacuations, lost revenue, and other relevant factors, puts the total cost at over $10 billion. […]