Estimates reflect insured wind, storm surge, and inland flooding impacts in the U.S., including losses to the National Flood Insurance Program and the private flood market.
RMS®, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates that the total U.S. insured losses from Hurricane Nicholas to be between US$1.1 and US$2.2 billion. This estimate represents insured losses associated with wind, storm surge, and precipitation-induced flooding, including losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Nicholas made landfall on September 14, 2021 near Sargent Beach, Texas as a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h). The storm brought hurricane-force winds, prolonged heavy rainfall to the central Gulf Coast, including many areas in southern Louisiana still recovering from Hurricane Ida, as well as Hurricanes’ Laura and Delta (2020).
Total insured loss estimates for Hurricane Nicholas (US$ billions):
|Wind + Surge||Private Inland Flood||NFIP||Total|
|0.7 – 1.4||0.2 – 0.3||0.2 – 0.5||1.1 – 2.2|
RMS estimates US$700 million to US$1.4 billion in privately insured wind and storm surge losses based on analysis of ensemble footprints in Version 21 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models. RMS ensemble footprints are reconstructions of Nicholas’ hazard that capture the uncertainties surrounding observed winds and storm surge. The precipitation-induced inland flooding losses were generated using footprints from the RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD Model.
RMS modelers developed and validated the wind, storm surge, and inland flood reconstructions and corresponding loss estimates using publicly available observations, including wind stations, rivers water level gauge data, and web reconnaissance.
“A notable impact from this event is the rainfalls, especially in Louisiana, where many towns and cities are still in the early stages of recovery after Hurricane Ida. RMS event response teams estimate roughly 40 percent of postal codes in Louisiana that were impacted by flooding in Nicholas were also impacted by flooding from Ida a few weeks earlier. We expect the overlapping nature of these two storms to further amplify losses, including the risk of rainfall infiltration, and to prolong the claims settlement process,” says Jeff Waters, Senior Product Manager, RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models.
The estimate also includes US$200 – $500 million in losses for NFIP in Texas and the Gulf of Mexico region. NFIP losses were derived using RMS’ view of NFIP exposure based on 2019 policy-in-force data published by FEMA, Version 21 North Atlantic Hurricane Models, and the U.S. Inland Flood HD Model.
Losses reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile lines of business, and considers sources of post-event loss amplification (PLA). RMS expects the majority of wind and storm surge losses to come from Texas, and the majority of the NFIP and insured flood losses to come from Louisiana.
Hurricane Nicholas was the fourteenth named storm of the 2021 North Atlantic hurricane season and the sixth hurricane. It was the second hurricane to make landfall this season.
RMS industry loss estimates for landfalling hurricanes are comprehensive, reflecting modeled and non-modeled impacts from all major drivers of damage, including wind, storm surge, and inland flooding.