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London, U.K. - September 28, 2017  RMS, a global risk modeling and analytics firm, has estimated that the insured loss from Hurricane Maria will be between $15 and $30 billion. This estimate represents the insured losses associated with wind, storm surge and inland flood damage across the Caribbean, with Puerto Rico and Dominica suffering the most widespread destruction.

The estimate includes property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial and industrial lines of business, with the vast majority of losses caused by wind damage. The RMS analysis also reflects post-event loss amplification.

“The Caribbean was hit hard by Maria, but Puerto Rico bore the brunt of insured damage,” said Michael Young, RMS head of product management for U.S. climate models. “It may have avoided the worst impacts of Hurricane Irma at the start of September, which only glanced the island. However, with Maria, Puerto Rico suffered a direct and costly hit. But although there is over $500 billion of exposure on Puerto Rico, the insurance penetration rate is only around 60 per cent. Thus, significant amounts of property damage will not be insured, and this will limit industry losses.”

Furthermore, RMS has had detailed discussions with insurers on the island, who report that in those urban areas with higher rates of insurance penetration, structural damage may be more limited. Instead, the most catastrophic impacts may have been in areas with very low insurance coverage, according to these sources. This is one reason why RMS expects insured losses from Hurricane Maria to be significantly lower than overall economic damages, which will be between $30 and $60 billion across the Caribbean.

However, there are also amplifying effects on industry losses. Hurricane Maria severely impacted power supplies, with outages that will last months. Fuel for electricity generators is running short. As well as being a humanitarian concern, this will have implications for Puerto Rico’s economy with significant business interruption, including to the island’s important pharmaceutical industry. Flooding has also washed away roads and bridges.

“RMS clients are reporting that structural damage on Puerto Rico of key industrial complexes is relatively limited,” said Young. “But the electricity shortages, significant infrastructure disruption, and possible labour shortages, are expected to amplify direct losses by almost 50 per cent, which is reflected in our estimate.”

In addition, RMS expects there may be shortages of claims adjustors and reconstruction workers, following the dual impact of earlier Hurricanes Irma and Harvey on the Caribbean and the U.S. mainland. Along with the significant interruption of transmission and distribution systems this may lead to a unique “Super Cat” situation.

Hurricane Maria was the thirteenth named storm of the 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season, first making landfall over Dominica on September 19 as a category 5 hurricane, maintaining its intensity as it tracked across the Caribbean near to Guadeloupe, Martinique and the U.S. Virgin Islands before weakening to category 4 strength as it made landfall in Puerto Rico.

The widespread failure of wind measuring stations due to storm damage made real-time ground observations sparse – a major hurdle for the industry’s assessment of hurricane impact. RMS was able to overcome this challenge and build a realistic and representative picture of the wind field, including the location of Maria’s maximum winds, using its proprietary RMS HWind system.

Michael Young explained: “HWind draws upon tens of thousands of wind observations from over 30 land, sea, satellite and airborne data sources. It allowed RMS to estimate maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (209 km/h) as Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, enabling an industry loss estimate based on the most comprehensive data.”

comprehensive data

For this loss estimate, the wind extent was simulated using version 17.0 RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models and RMS ensemble footprints, which are hazard reconstructions of Maria’s windfield. The analysis used a 2017 release of the RMS® Caribbean Industry Exposure Database, which was informed by a field visit to Puerto Rico and the wider Caribbean by RMS modeling experts in 2015. This afforded the most up-to-date view of vulnerability.

 

Related Resources
September 24, 2020
RMS Estimates that Total U.S. Insured Losses from Hurricane Sally Will Be Between US$2bn – US$3.5bn

Newark, CA – September 23, 2020 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates that total U.S. insured losses from Hurricane Sally will be between US$2.0 and US$3.5 billion. The estimate includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) of between US$400m and US$800m. U.S. insured loss estimates for Hurricane Sally (US$ billions): Wind & Surge Inland Flood NFIP Total 1.3 - 2.3  0.3 - 0.4 0.4 - 0.8 2.0 - 3.5 “Sally made landfall with much stronger winds than expected. While it weakened considerably as it moved inland, the slow-moving nature of the storm brought persistent wind and storm surge to much of the Gulf coastline, combined with heavy rainfall and widespread flooding to interior regions. Sally is another example of how hurricane damage can take many different forms”, said Jeff Waters, senior product manager, RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models.  This estimate includes wind, storm surge, and inland flood losses across parts of the Gulf and Florida regions, based on analysis of RMS ensemble footprints in Version 18.1 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models and estimates from the RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD Model. RMS ensemble footprints are reconstructions of Sally’s hazards that capture the uncertainties surrounding observed wind speeds and storm surge. Losses reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile lines of business. Estimates include post-event loss amplification (PLA) and non-modeled sources of loss. RMS expects the majority of insured losses will impact residential lines. The estimate also includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which RMS expects to reach US$400 million to US$800 million. NFIP losses were derived using an RMS view of NFIP exposure based on the 2019 policy-in-force data published by FEMA, the Version 18.1 North Atlantic Hurricane Models, and the U.S. Inland Flood HD Model. “We expect Sally to be a sizable event for the NFIP. The majority of NFIP take-up occurs in coastal counties, especially in the states most impacted by the hurricane, notably Alabama and Florida. However, the inland extent of heavy rainfall from this event means we’ll likely see NFIP losses stemming from inland flood as well,” said Rajkiran Vojjala, Vice President, Model Development.  Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. At landfall, Sally produced sustained winds of 105 mph (170 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center. Informed by a suite of real-time observational data sources, RMS HWind products estimated comparable winds at and just after landfall. The landfall location was also well-forecast by the HWind forecasting products. “In the days leading up to landfall, our HWind forecasts consistently provided clients with scenarios indicating a potential Alabama landfall location, even prior to the NHC official forecasts trending east away from New Orleans. This event is another strong validation point in demonstrating the predictive value of these products,” said Pete Dailey, Vice President, Model Development. In the 24-36 hours following landfall, Sally weakened quickly as it tracked further inland into Georgia and parts of the Carolinas, before being downgraded to a “remnant low” on September 17. Hurricane Sally was the eighteenth named storm of the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season, the seventh hurricane, and the fourth U.S. landfalling hurricane of this very active season. Sally is the eighth named storm to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. so far in 2020, a new record for U.S. landfall activity as of mid-September. RMS industry loss estimates for landfalling U.S. hurricanes are comprehensive, reflecting modeled and non-modeled impacts from all major drivers of damage, including wind, storm surge, and inland flooding.   ENDS The technology and data used in providing the information contained in this press release are based on the scientific data, mathematical and empirical models, and encoded experience of scientists and specialists. As with any model of physical systems, particularly those with low frequencies of occurrence and potentially high severity outcomes, the actual losses from catastrophic events may differ from the results of simulation analyses. RMS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES, OBLIGATIONS AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF, INCLUDING ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL RMS (OR ITS PARENT, SUBSIDIARY, OR OTHER AFFILIATED COMPANIES) BE LIABLE FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF. …

September 22, 2020
RMS Estimates Insurance Losses from Western U.S. Wildfires to Be Between US$4bn and US$8bn

NEWARK, Calif. – September 22, 2020 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk company estimates insured losses for the Western U.S. will be between US$4.0 and US$8.0 billion. These losses reflect estimates as of September 20, 2020, and further escalation in losses are likely as many fires are still ongoing in California, Oregon, and Washington. RMS estimates insured losses from major wildfires in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington as follows (US$ billions): Regions Insured Losses as of September 20, 2020 Northern California 3.0 - 5.0 Oregon & Washington 1.0 - 3.0 Wildfires in the Western U.S. have led to over four million acres burned so far (2.5 million in Northern California and over 1.5 million in Oregon and Washington) and over 13,500 structures damaged or destroyed as of September 20, 2020. Michael Young, Vice President, Product Management said: “While this season is exceptionally noteworthy on many fronts, I want to highlight a silver lining: 30 to 60 percent of structures in many of these mega complex footprints actually survived the fire. This is because building science has identified many factors that increase the survivability of structures such as wildfire-resistant vents. We need to find bold ways to duplicate those measures at scale. If this is the new normal, we can’t afford not to embrace effective steps towards mitigation.” RMS estimates include losses from property damage, including evacuation and smoke damage, business interruption (BI) across residential, commercial, industrial lines, and additional living expenses (ALE). Smoke and evacuation are significant contributors to losses during the ongoing Western U.S. wildfires, contributing about 20 percent of losses in Northern California fires and about 35 percent in Oregon and Washington fires, respectively. The RMS loss estimate is based on detailed modeling of fire spread, ember accumulations, and smoke dispersion of the fires utilizing the RMS U.S. Wildfire HD Model, part of the suite of RMS North America Wildfire High-Definition (HD) Models, released in February 2019. The model covers the contiguous U.S. and explicitly simulates ember and smoke to support detailed analysis of the impact of a wildfire beyond historical fire perimeters. The model’s findings were supported by Damage Inspection Specialist (DINS) damage surveys for California Fires, published damage reports for Oregon and Washington fires, and the RMS U.S. Wildfire Industry Exposure Database. As many major fires are still active in these states, additional increases in loss are possible. Learn more about the RMS North America Wildfire HD Model here. ENDS The technology and data used in providing the information contained in this press release are based on the scientific data, mathematical and empirical models, and encoded experience of scientists and specialists. As with any model of physical systems, particularly those with low frequencies of occurrence and potentially high severity outcomes, the actual losses from catastrophic events may differ from the results of simulation analyses. RMS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES, OBLIGATIONS AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF, INCLUDING ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL RMS (OR ITS PARENT, SUBSIDIARY, OR OTHER AFFILIATED COMPANIES) BE LIABLE FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF. …

September 03, 2020
RMS Estimates that Total Onshore U.S. Insured Losses from Hurricane Laura Will Be Between US$9bn – US$13bn

Newark, CA – September 3, 2020 – RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates that total onshore U.S. insured losses from Hurricane Laura will be between US$9.0 and US$13.0 billion. The estimate includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) of between US$400m and US$600m. Onshore U.S. insured loss estimates for Hurricane Laura (US$ billions): Wind + Surge Inland Flood NFIP Total 8.5 – 12.0 0.1 – 0.4 0.4 – 0.6 9.0 – 13.0 “Although Laura avoided major metropolitan areas like Houston and New Orleans, it was still an extremely impactful U.S. event. After making landfall as a powerful Category 4 storm, it maintained its intensity as it moved inland, causing widespread wind and water-driven damage well into interior portions of Louisiana. The extent and severity of these damages has been verified by our development teams via web and aerial-based reconnaissance efforts”, said Jeff Waters, senior product manager, RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models.   This estimate includes wind, storm surge, and inland flood losses across impacted states, including Louisiana and Texas, based on analysis of RMS ensemble footprints (hazard reconstructions of Laura’s wind field and storm surge) in Version 18.1 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models and the RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD (high-definition) Model. Ensemble footprints capture the uncertainties surrounding observed hazard, including wind speeds, storm surge, and wave heights.  Losses reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile lines of business, as well as post-event loss amplification and non-modeled sources of loss. Industrial losses include impacts to speciality lines, such as refineries and petrochemical plants, many of which lie along this part of the Gulf coastline.  The estimate also includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which RMS expects to reach US$400 million to US$600 million. NFIP losses were derived using an RMS view of NFIP exposure based on the 2019 policy-in-force data published by FEMA, and the Version 18.1 North Atlantic Hurricane Models. RMS estimates an additional US$1.0bn to US$2.0 billion of insured losses to offshore platforms, rigs, and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico, due to wind and wave-driven damages. Offshore losses were estimated using the September 2020 vintage of the RMS Offshore Platform Industry Exposure Database. “Offshore assets have evolved significantly since the impactful hurricanes of Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008, but there is still a prevalence of platforms, rigs, and pipelines in the Gulf region. Many of these assets, including several high-value deep-water platforms, were exposed to the significant wind and wave impacts from Hurricane Laura. At landfall, Laura produced devastating sustained winds of 150 mph [240 km/h], according to both the National Hurricane Center and RMS HWind forecasting service. Our forecasts provided clients with estimates of Laura’s potential impacts in the critical days leading up to landfall,” said Pete Dailey, Vice President, Model Development.  In the two days following landfall, the system weakened considerably as it tracked further inland into Arkansas and parts of the Ohio Valley. Eventually, Laura became a “remnant low” and merged with a passing extra-tropical system, accelerating eastward off the Mid-Atlantic coast. Hurricane Laura was the twelfth named storm of the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season, the first major hurricane of the season, and the third landfalling hurricane of the season. It was the Atlantic Basin's earliest forming twelfth storm on record, and a record seventh named storm to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. before the end of August. NOAA expects the Atlantic to remain highly active through the remaining three months of the official 2020 hurricane season.   END The technology and data used in providing the information contained in this press release are based on the scientific data, mathematical and empirical models, and encoded experience of scientists and specialists. As with any model of physical systems, particularly those with low frequencies of occurrence and potentially high severity outcomes, the actual losses from catastrophic events may differ from the results of simulation analyses. RMS SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL RESPONSIBILITIES, OBLIGATIONS AND LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF, INCLUDING ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, WARRANTIES OF NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. IN NO EVENT SHALL RMS (OR ITS PARENT, SUBSIDIARY, OR OTHER AFFILIATED COMPANIES) BE LIABLE FOR DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WITH RESPECT TO ANY DECISIONS OR ADVICE MADE OR GIVEN AS A RESULT OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS INFORMATION OR USE THEREOF. …

About RMS

Risk Management Solutions, Inc. (RMS) helps insurers, financial markets, corporations, and public agencies evaluate and manage global risk from natural and man-made catastrophes, including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, climate change, cyber, and pandemics.

RMS helped pioneer the catastrophe risk industry, and continues to lead in innovation by marrying data and advanced model science with leading-edge SaaS technology. Leaders across multiple industries can address the risks of tomorrow with RMS Risk Intelligence™ (RI), our open, unified cloud platform for global risk, enabling them to tap into RMS HD models, rich data layers, intuitive applications, and APIs.

Further supporting the industry's transition to modern risk management, RMS spearheaded the Risk Data Open Standard (RDOS), a new modern open standard data schema designed to be an extensible, flexible, and future-proof asset within modeling/analysis systems.

RMS is a trusted solutions partner enabling effective risk management for better business decision making across risk identification and selection, mitigation, underwriting, and portfolio management.

Visit RMS.com to learn more and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contacts

Matthew Longbottom

PR Lead, EU and APAC
+44 20 7444 7706 prteam@rms.com

Devonne Cusi

PR Lead, Americas
+1 551 226 1604 prteam@rms.com
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