How much is the damage expected to cost?
EQECAT, a consultancy based in Oakland, California, estimates that the economic losses from Hurricane Sandy could range from US$10 billion to $20 billion, and that insurance companies would be required to cover roughly half that. This is comparable to the $10-billion loss from Hurricane Irene last year, which included $6 billion in insured losses. Hurricane Ike wracked up $20 billion to $30 billion in damages in 2008, according to EQECAT, including insured losses of up to $12 billion.
How is the insurance industry dealing with evidence linking global warming to more intense storms?
This question has been ongoing for years, particularly for 'reinsurance' companies — the industry giants that insure insurance companies against major catastrophes. Nonetheless, Tom Larsen, a senior vice-president at EQECAT, says that the industry naturally focuses on the present, and that the impacts of climate change are both less clear and less pronounced today than they are expected to be in the future. “Few are directly accounting for global warming in their loss rates, but most are incorporating it into their strategic planning,” Larsen says.
How long is Sandy expected to last?
The storm, which now looks more like a typical winter storm than a tropical hurricane, is projected to continue moving north over the next two days, then into Canada on Thursday and Friday.