RMS Estimates US$31– $44 Billion in Total U.S. Onshore and Offshore Insured Losses from Hurricane Ida

RMS Estimates US$31– $44 Billion in Total U.S. Onshore and Offshore Insured Losses from Hurricane Ida 150 150 Haggie Partners

RMS®, the world’s leading catastrophe risk solutions company, estimates total onshore and offshore U.S. insured losses from Hurricane Ida to be between US$31 and US$44 billion. The estimate builds upon the earlier industry loss estimate of US$25-$35 billion for the Gulf of Mexico region, to include inland flooding impacts in the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast U.S. regions. RMS estimates US$6–$9 billion in insured losses from precipitation-induced flooding in the Atlantic states in this event.

The majority of the insured flood losses in the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast U.S. –between US$4.5 and US$7.0 billion, will be to the private market, with an additional US$1.5–$2.0 billion to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Total U.S. onshore and offshore insured loss estimates for Hurricane Ida (US$ billions):

  Wind + Surge Inland Flood NFIP Offshore Energy Total
Gulf 21 – 28 1.0 – 1.5 2.3 – 4.0 0.7 – 1.5 25 – 35
Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast U.S. n/a 4.5 – 7.0 1.5 – 2.0 n/a 6 – 9
Total U.S. Onshore and Offshore 21 – 28 5.5 – 8.5 3.8 – 6.0 0.7 – 1.5 31 – 44

The overall industry loss estimate for this event includes wind and storm surge losses in the Gulf of Mexico based on analysis of ensemble footprints in Version 21 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models. RMS ensemble footprints are reconstructions of Ida’s hazard that capture the uncertainties surrounding observed winds and storm surge. The industry estimate also includes impacts from precipitation-induced inland flooding in the Gulf Coast states (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi), Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions, using footprints from the RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD Model.

“Ida will be remembered as a wind and storm surge event in the Gulf of Mexico, and a flood event in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast U.S. The storm’s remnants brought historic amounts of rainfall over just a few hours to some of the most exposure-dense areas in that part of the country. Many locations from Philadelphia to New York City experienced six-hourly rainfall totals in excess of 100-year return period levels, which is beyond building design standards in that region, causing widespread fluvial and pluvial flooding. The fact that this region also experienced heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Henri a few weeks prior created saturated antecedent conditions that exacerbated the extent and severity of flooding in Ida,” said Jeff Waters, Senior Product Manager, RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models.

Losses for the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile lines of business, as well as sources of post-event loss amplification and leakage of flood losses onto windstorm policies.

“RMS expects insured losses associated with precipitation-induced inland flooding to be material in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, even though a sizable flood protection gap remains. RMS estimates total economic losses from flooding in this region to be over US$15 billion, meaning that the majority of flood damages for this event will be uninsured. Many properties in New York and New Jersey had inundated basements in areas outside the designated FEMA special flood hazard areas (SFHAs), which drive the requirement for homeowners to obtain a flood insurance policy. While such losses will unlikely be covered unless they have a flood insurance policy, the pressure to expedite claims processing in this region is likely to cause coverage leakage as frequently seen with storm surge. We expect a portion of the uncovered flood-related losses in Ida to be paid out on wind policies, especially for residential lines without NFIP coverage,” said Firas Saleh, Director, RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD Model.

Total insured losses from Ida reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, automobile, industrial, infrastructure, marine cargo and specie, watercraft, and other speciality lines of business, along with post-event loss amplification (PLA) and non-modeled sources of loss.

“We expect a sizable portion of the overall insured losses from Ida to be associated with post-event loss amplification. A combination of COVID-19 related impacts, including rising construction costs, labor shortages, and fewer loss inspections could contribute to economic demand surge as repairs are undertaken in the coming months. That, along with prolonged power outages will only lengthen recovery and repair times, all of which may lead to increased overall claim costs in this event,” said Rajkiran Vojjala, Vice President, Model Development, RMS.

The total U.S. insured loss estimate includes US$3.8–US$6 billion losses to the NFIP, with US$1.5–US$2 billion expected to come from the Ohio Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast states. NFIP losses were derived using RMS’ view of NFIP exposure based on 2019 policy-in-force data published by FEMA, the Version 21 North Atlantic Hurricane Models, and the U.S. Inland Flood HD Model. While flood policy take-up is significant in coastal areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, some of the areas worst affected by floods during Ida have minimal (<10%) NFIP participation.

RMS expects the majority of onshore insured losses from Ida to be driven by wind, followed by inland flooding, and then storm surge. Additionally, insured wind losses will be driven by residential lines, and insured water losses will be dominated by commercial and industrial lines. Insured losses to infrastructure, watercraft, and marine cargo and specie lines in Ida will be less than US$1 billion.

Based on the August 2021 vintage of the RMS Offshore Platform Industry Exposure Database, and modeled ensemble footprints, RMS estimates insured losses to offshore platforms, rigs, and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico from wind and wave damages to be between US$0.7–US$1.5 billion.

Outside of the U.S., Ida impacted parts of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands, with strong winds, heavy rain, and flash flooding. RMS estimates less than US$100 million in insured losses from the event in the Caribbean.

Ida made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana on Sunday, August 29 as a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. At landfall, Ida produced sustained winds of 150 miles per hour (241 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center. As Ida moved northward toward the Tennessee River Valley, it weakened and eventually transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone before impacting the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions with torrential rain and flash flooding.

Hurricane Ida was the ninth named storm of the 2021 North Atlantic hurricane season, the fourth hurricane, and the fifth named storm to make landfall in the U.S. this season. Ida was also the fourth hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana since 2020, following Hurricanes’ Laura, Delta, and Zeta. Over two months remain in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on November 30.

RMS industry loss estimates for landfalling U.S. hurricanes are comprehensive, reflecting modeled and non-modeled impacts from all major drivers of damage, including wind, storm surge, and inland flooding.