22 September 2014 Insurance

Hurricane in 1821 would cost $107bn today

If a severe Category 4 hurricane, similar to one that occurred in 1821, were to happen today, it would cause more than $100 billion in property losses – 50 percent more damage than Hurricane Sandy.

This is the finding of a report by Swiss Re, which added that: “Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call; if left unheeded, the 1821 Norfolk and Long Island hurricane would be the nightmare.”

In 1821, an estimated Category 4 hurricane pummelled the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States. At landfall, Hurricane Sandy was equivalent to a weak Category 1 hurricane.

The total loss from a recurrence of the 1821 hurricane would be over $107 billion. Currently, loss estimates for Hurricane Sandy stand at $68 billion.

“Over the last decade we’ve seen an alarming rise in the insured and economic damages due to natural disasters. The largest portion of this increase is due to the ever-growing amount of exposed values in areas of higher risk. Underestimating the true risk within these regions can lead to a false sense of security, promote more building in areas of higher risk areas, and understate the need for investing in resiliency,” said the report.

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