Hurricane Maria is the worst storm to strike Puerto Rico since 1928 with insured losses estimating between $40bn and $85bn, AIR Worldwide said.
Since the storm devastated Puerto Rico it has resulted in widespread property damage and power outages with AIR saying that over 85 percent of the insured loss is in the island. Dominica was also hit with extensive damage from the storm.
AIR’s preliminary damage estimate is higher than its estimates for Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas in August, and Hurricane Irma, which passed through the Caribbean before hitting Florida earlier this month. The firm said Harvey caused more than $10bn in insured losses, excluding losses borne by the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides majority of residential flood insurance and Hurricane Irma caused $32bn to $50bn in insured losses in the U.S. and the Caribbean.
AIR’s estimate for Maria includes damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties and vehicles, as well as losses due to business interruption and additional living expenses. It also takes into account higher rebuilding costs due to increased demand for labour and materials. The estimate for Maria excludes losses to infrastructure or boats and damage to uninsured properties.
Last week, AIR estimated around 50 percent of homes in Puerto Rico has insurance policies that protect against wind damage which is much lower than is typical across the U.S.