Insured losses caused by Dorian in the Caribbean could be as high as US$6.5 billion – RMS

Damage in Bahamas caused by Hurricane Dorian.

Reputable risk modelling and analytics company RMS, is estimating insured losses in the Caribbean from Hurricane Dorain could be anywhere between US$3.5 billion to US$6.5 billion.

RMS, which is based in California, says the figure represents wind and storm surge damage primarily wrought upon The Bahamas.

Hurricane Dorian sat over the Bahamas for over 30 hours and practically levelled the small island of Abaco.

Assessing the impact on The Bahamas, Jeff Waters, Senior Product Manager of RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models, is reported to have told the Insurance Journal: “There is a high degree of uncertainty on the potential impact of post-event loss (PLA) amplification from this event. Nevertheless, we expect PLA in The Bahamas to be significant due to constrained access to the islands and infrastructure damage.

“Port closures, damaged roads and severe damage to the airport will make it difficult to deliver the necessary labour and materials to impacted areas. It will also limit the ability of residents and business owners to return to damaged homes and buildings. Consequently, cost of materials is expected to inflate and repairs could be prolonged both of which are expected to amplify the cost of the claims from this event.”

Flooding caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Abaco area of the Bahamas.

The official death toll in the Bahamas due to Hurricane Dorian is now at 50 but more bodies are expected to be recovered. Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane tore apart the northern part of the Bahamas with wind speeds of 200 miles per hour.

‘Insured losses in the Bahamas are also expected to settle over a longer period than in a typical Caribbean hurricane.’

—Peter Dailey

Before gathering strength and whilst as a tropical storm, Dorian brought heavy rains and winds to Barbados where that country’s electricity  grid was shut down. The Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, St Vincent, St Lucia, Martinique and the Dominican Republic all were doused by torrential rains but that was about it. Florida remained unscathed.

“Insured losses in the Bahamas are also expected to settle over a longer period than in a typical Caribbean hurricane given an expected spike in demand for claims adjusters, many of whom will be unable to inspect properties or even access the two main affected islands (Grand Bahama and Abaco) for some time,” said Peter Dailey, vice president at RMS ( Model Development).