Insurance & Technology is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


11:18 AM
Connect Directly

Dispatch from High Hurricane Season: Katia Qualifies, Northeast U.S. Still Underwater

Overhyped or not, Irene added meaningful catastrophe losses to the 2011 tally and we're far from out of the woods as September begins.

Continuing carping about supposed over-hyping of Irene has muted reporting about Katia, which became a category one hurricane during the last 24 hours and currently has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to NOAA's National Hurricane Center. Meanwhile, people in New Jersey continue to deal with the worst flooding in decades, according to a report in Insurance Journal:

Some 1.7 million homes and business were still without power after as many as 6.7 million had lost electricity. With damage in the billions of dollars -- Standard & Poor's estimated the national total at $20 billion, though others have put the number at half that -- homeowners were also battling insurance companies that exclude flood damage coverage.

Not that Katia ought to be hyped, since the storm may well amount to nothing. However, people need to know that it could hit the U.S. coast, including places already affected by Irene, in order to be able to formulate an effective response should it be necessary.

While Irene may not have lived up to the wildest predictions of reporters and expectations of weather voyeurs, its destructiveness should be noted. AIR Worldwide says insured losses will probably be between $3 and $6 billion. Total economic losses will be much higher because of the prevalence of flooding associated with the event, perhaps rising as high as $20, according to Standard & Poors.

With any luck, Katia -- along with another depression brewing over the Gulf of Mexico -- will be a non-event. As the Atlantic Hurricane season rolls on through its peak, we can only hope that Irene was the worst of it, but we can't fail to notice its not-insignificant additions to the already noteworthy catastrophe losses for 2011.

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

Register for Insurance & Technology Newsletters