Tag Archives: Miami

Irma’s Landfall in Florida Could Have Been Worse

19:00 UTC  Monday, September 11

Tom Sabbatelli, hurricane risk expert – RMS

Irma is a hurricane no more: following a Category 3 strength second Florida landfall near Marco Island, south of Naples, the storm’s intensity rapidly faded as it traveled to the north and west overnight. Irma now only maintains tropical storm strength as it crosses northern Florida. Expect to see further commentary on the storm’s rapid decay from my colleagues in the RMS HWind team later today.

Irma’s landfall and overnight track has allowed RMS to narrow yesterday’s stochastic event selection. A landfall eliminates offshore track scenarios that produce lower levels of onshore wind but higher levels of storm surge hazard along Florida’s west coast. Irma’s passage to the east of Tampa reduces the risk of significant storm surge levels and loss near Tampa Bay.

Initial damage reports indicate that damage may not be as severe as once feared, despite sizable roof damage in Naples and the Florida Keys.

As per the RMS Event Response process, our attention shifts from the regular, reactive stochastic event selections to a comprehensive interrogation of all causes of loss, both modeled and unmodeled. During Hurricane Harvey, my colleague Michael Young explained that one of the biggest challenges we face is collecting enough wind observations to create a complete picture of a storm’s wind field. Although our RMS HWind team have been collecting and processing data every three hours, we face these challenges with Irma as well. More data will become available in the coming days, which will enhance the accuracy of our wind field and surge modeling.

As part of our event response service, we have the following activities underway:

  • Reconnaissance will help us narrow the uncertainty around what could be a potentially significant contribution to loss from storm surge and flooding. These efforts do not need to wait for boots to hit the ground, though; we have teams already scouring high-resolution satellite images to detail the exact extent of the flood waters and the underlying exposure at risk.
  • Our RMS Field Recon team, fresh off their trips to Texas following Hurricane Harvey, are reactivating their reconnaissance plans. In the days ahead, their visits to cities across Florida will help reveal the depth of the flood waters and the extent of wind damage observed throughout the state.

You may have already seen that our colleague, Victor Roldan, has been documenting his experience riding out the storm from his home in Miami. Victor has reported that basements are flooded along Brickell Avenue, and area that was hard hit in Wilma, but wind damage is minimal.

Following a hurricane, power outages predominantly contribute to heightened business interruption and post-event loss amplification, which is possible in an event of this magnitude. As many as seven million customers in Florida may have been without power at one time, almost triple the peak outage observed during Hurricane Matthew.

Caribbean Impacts

Let’s not forget about the Caribbean islands left in Irma’s wake, still cleaning up and attempting to restore power and telecommunications several days after the storm’s initial impact. For instance, as many as one-quarter of customers in Puerto Rico remain without power four days after Irma’s passage. This prolonged restoration may prove to be a figure that could compound insured losses across the island. During their comprehensive review of the event’s lifecycle, RMS modelers will refine projections of the insured loss across all Caribbean islands, which is assumed will contribute materially to the total industry loss.

As the Event Response team now transitions from producing real-time event updates, they have many existing key data sources from which they can draw these critical observations. Ultimately, these insights will inform our official insured industry loss estimate, targeted for publication in approximately two weeks’ time.

Irma in Miami: A Personal Perspective

19:00 UTC  Sunday, September 10

Victor Roldan, regional director – Caribbean and Latin America, RMS

I live in Brickell, in the Financial District of Miami, in a condominium block of some 30 stories on Brickell Bay Drive and SE 12th Street, very close to downtown Miami. The block faces the waterfront, four blocks from the Four Seasons, with the Mandarin Oriental just over the water on Brickell Key. This is an area that the insurance industry knows well, with many RMS clients operating their Latin American and Caribbean business from offices in and around a square mile from here.

I have lived in Miami for the past 15 years, and it is a great city. Similar to most Miami residents, I have experienced hurricanes, I know the difference between a hurricane and a major storm, and in my view here from my block some ten floors up, and despite of being 130 miles away from the eye, this is the worst I have ever seen. My family is safe, they are out of the state.

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Hurricane Irma: The Exposure Variable

11:00 UTC  Thursday, September 7

Rhett Austell, director – Client Solutions, RMS

In the days leading up to landfall for a major hurricane such as Irma, you will find RMS employees and clients glued to their devices. We are all reading weather blogs, studying RMS HWind snapshots, monitoring Twitter, and sharing each other’s projections and observations on LinkedIn. This is all to get the latest view on a dynamic system – what is the maximum sustained wind? What is the Rmax? Central pressure? What is the integrated kinetic energy?

In such a dynamic situation, it is important to also consider what is static: the concentration of exposure within the hurricane uncertainty cone. In the most general sense, the industry insured loss for such an event is a function of the physical characteristics of the storm and the scale of exposure that is impacted. As has been stated elsewhere on the RMS blog, loss scenarios will vary significantly depending on the concentrations of exposure underlying the event footprint. For hurricanes, a few miles can be the difference between a footnote on a quarterly earnings statement or front page headlines. This was the story last year with Hurricane Matthew after it “wobbled” to the east and spared much of southeast Florida.

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Exceedance 2015: Welcome to Miami!

We have arrived in the City Under the Sun – Miami, FL – for Exceedance 2015, where the oceanfront views are providing the perfect backdrop for a week of engaging sessions, invigorating discussion, and plenty of networking opportunities.

For those of you joining us here at the legendary Fontainebleau Hotel, meet us poolside tonight at 5:30 p.m. to kick things off at the welcome reception. For those of you who couldn’t make it this year, make sure to follow RMS on Twitter, LinkedIn and here on the blog for #Exceedance news, insights, and photos.

With more than 60 sessions across eight different tracks, there is no shortage of thought-provoking content and discussions to be had. Download the mobile app to help you manage your schedule and maximize your week.

Here are a few highlights as you plan out your week:

Keynote Speakers: The keynote sessions are definitely not to be missed. This year, our lineup of keynote speakers includes:

  • Hemant Shah, RMS co-founder and CEO
  • Dr. Robert Muir-Wood, RMS chief research officer
  • Laurence Golborne, former Chilean minister of mines and energy
  • Richard Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center
  • Dr. Patricia Grossi, senior director of model product management, RMS
  • Ben Brookes, vice president of capital markets, RMS
  • Paul Wilson, vice president of model development, RMS
  • Daniel Stander, managing director, RMS

Interconnected Risks: Cyber, contingent business interruption, and pandemic risk have all made headlines in the past year. Check out interconnected risk sessions where we’ll share the latest research into the unique challenges of interconnected risks and discuss lessons learned from the events such as the Ebola pandemic, Superstorm Sandy, and cyber attacks.

High-Definition Modeling: Make sure to attend our HD modeling sessions, held throughout the week, to learn about the methodology behind our HD models and how greater precision with a simulation-based approach will give insurers greater insight into and management of their risk.

Risk Management and the Allure of Latin America: For the first time, we are hosting an entire track focused on Latin America. The rapid expansion of insurance in Latin America and the Caribbean is creating opportunities for both insurers and reinsurers. We’re looking forward to diving deeper into how risk modeling tools can unlock opportunities in the region.

The Lab: The Lab is the perfect place to swing by between sessions to meet RMS experts and learn about everything from version 15 models and software to RMS Hosting Plus to capital market solutions. And stop by the Mini Theater for a great lineup of speakers on everything from analytical services to philanthropic partnerships.

 “EP” – The Exceedance Party: As always, we’re celebrating a full week of activities with the “EP” on Wednesday night. This year we’ll be at the LIV Nightclub, where you can be sure to find good food, drinks, and lively conversation along with two-time Grammy-nominated Latin band, Palo!

We’re glad to have you and are looking forward to a great week ahead!