The states of New Jersey, New York and North Carolina each sustained insured property damage exceeding $500 million from Hurricane Irene, according to Verisk Analytics Inc.
Among nearly 200 counties in 13 states, Suffolk County, New York, and Dare County, North Carolina, each sustained more than $200 million of insured property damage, according to a preliminary estimate from the risk-assessment and data provider. Nassau County, New York; Monmouth County, New Jersey; and Worcester County, Maryland, each had more than $150 million in property damage, Verisk said in a statement.
Irene was the first hurricane to strike the United States since Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the first hurricane to threaten New York City since Hurricane Gloria in September 1985, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Catastrophe-modeling firms have differing loss estimates from Irene, which made landfall near Cape Lookout, N.C., Aug. 27 as a Category 1 hurricane and traveled up the heavily populated East Coast into Maine. Risk Management Solutions Inc. has pegged insured losses at $2.5 billion to $5.5 billion. AIR estimated insured losses from Irene between $3 billion and $6 billion in the United States, and $400 million to $800 million in the Caribbean. Eqecat Inc. has a narrower range for insured losses of $1.8 billion to $3.4 billion.
Despite the cat losses in the first half of this year and the losses from Irene, the U.S. property/casualty industry remains well capitalized, according to Anthony Diodato, group vice president of property/casualty ratings at A.M. Best.
Verisk Analytics compiles its catastrophe index based on data from ISO's Property Claim Services unit and AIR Worldwide Corp. Both PCS and AIR are units of Verisk Analytics. The catastrophe index can be used as a trigger for reinsurance contracts, catastrophe bonds, industry loss warranties, and other catastrophe derivative instruments.
The top U.S. property/casualty writers, based on 2010 net premiums written, were State Farm Group, followed by Allstate Insurance Group, Liberty Mutual Insurance Cos., Berkshire Hathaway, and Travelers Group, according to BestLink, which provides online access to A.M. Best's database of insurance information.