Insurance companies facing US$20 billion exposure from Hurricane Florence

Insurance companies facing US$20 billion exposure from Hurricane Florence | Insurance Business

Insurance companies facing US$20 billion exposure from Hurricane Florence

Industry experts are warning that Hurricane Florence – looming over North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia – could generate “tens of billions of dollars” in insured losses.

Although the storm’s current path and potential damage remain difficult to predict, catastrophe risk modeler Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has projected insured losses resulting from the hurricane of between US$15 billion and US$20 billion, additionally noting that Florence will be the strongest hurricane to make landfall in North Carolina since 1954.

According to Fitch Ratings, the pre-landfall forecasts for Florence suggest that the hurricane could linger over the Carolina coastal area after its arrival, which could expose the region to an extended period of strong gusts, heavy coastal storm surge, and rainfall-induced flooding (both coastal and inland). If the storm manages to keep its intensity as it travels inland through densely populated areas, Florence could potentially cause “considerable economic and insured losses.”

Fitch Ratings has also compiled a list of insurers that would be hit the hardest once Florence makes landfall.

Top-five homeowners’ writers as measured by statutory direct written premiums in NC, SC, GA and VA:

  • State Farm Mutual Insurance Group
  • United Services Automobile Association (USAA)
  • The Allstate Corporation
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance Group
  • Travelers Companies

Top-five commercial writers (inland marine, allied lines, fire, commercial multi-peril non-liability) as measured by statutory direct written premiums in NC, SC, GA and VA:

  • Liberty Mutual Insurance Group
  • CNA Financial Corporation
  • Travelers
  • Nationwide
  • American International Group (AIG)

Top-five private flood writers as measured by statutory direct written premiums in NC, SC, GA and VA:

  • FM Global Group
  • AIG
  • Assurant
  • Zurich American Insurance Group
  • Swiss Re America Group

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) – which has a combined 532,489 policies in force in NC, SC, GA and VA as of August 2018 – could also be on the hook for storm surge and rainfall-related insured losses in the residential property market.