Hurricane Hilary to cost insurers $600m; Idalia becomes hurricane

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Insurers in the US are to face $600m losses from Hurricane Hilary, which hit California and parts of Mexico earlier this month, according to Karen Clark & Co. Meanwhile, in Florida, insurers brace for potential losses coming from Idalia, which became a hurricane this morning.

Based on KCC US Hurricane Reference Model, KCC said the $600m privately insured loss estimate includes the privately insured damage to residential, commercial, industrial properties, as well as automobiles. 

It does not include boats, offshore properties losses or losses from the National Flood Insurance Program, a government scheme designed to provide disaster assistance as an insurance alternative. 

Hilary became a tropical storm on 16 August but strengthened to become a category 1 hurricane the next day, said the risk modeller. It then quickly intensified and became a category 4 hurricane on 18 August. 

“High sea surface temperatures, low wind shear and high humidity aided this rapid intensification,” said KCC. 

Hilary downgraded to a tropical storm before making landfall near Baja California on 20 August. After making landfall, Hilary brought flooding rains to western Mexico and Southern California, “breaking monthly and seasonal records”.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Idalia is intensifying as the Atlantic hurricane season starts.

According to the latest message issued by the National Hurricane Center, issued at 4:00 am Central Time, Tropical Storm Idalia became a hurricane and is expected to “rapidly intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane before landfall on Wednesday”. 

“There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast where a storm surge warning is in effect, including Tampa Bay and the Big Bend region of Florida,” it added. 

The NHC also expects heavy rainfall across parts of western Cuba. 

Florida declared a state of emergency on Monday, before Idalia became a hurricane. 

What impacts can insurers expect from Idalia? 

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