According to an insurance-based company report, Hurricane Ian has contributed to a year of costly insured losses. This year, extreme weather events such as the winter storms in Europe, flooding in Australia and South Africa, and hailstorms in France and the United States have caused an estimated $115 billion in damages to date, according to the Swiss Re Institute.
The company’s data noted that in 2022, the estimated insured losses total was more than $100 billion. This was for the second consecutive year. This is part of a larger trend of seeing an average annual increase of 5-7% over the past decade. This year, the industry covered approximately 45% of the world’s economic losses. This shows that there is still a large protection gap. “2022 has been another year of increased natural catastrophe loss activity, and demand for insurance is growing as the protection gap remains vast,” explained Thierry Léger, group chief underwriting officer.
According to the Swiss Re Institute, Hurricane Ian was the most costly natural catastrophe with estimated losses of $50–65 billion. The Category 4 hurricane caused extensive damage in western Florida when it landed in late September. It brought with it high winds, severe rains and a storm surge. According to Swiss Re Institute, the price of the damages is expected to be second only to Katrina in 2005.
Experts weigh in on Hurricane Ian’s prolific damage costs
“Extreme weather events have led to high insured losses in 2022, underpinning a risk on the rise and unfolding on every continent,” said Martin Bertogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re. In the last 30 years, there have been seven hurricanes that have caused $20 billion or more in damage, according to Bertogg. Prior to Hurricane Andrew hitting 6 years ago, no such event had ever occurred before.
As of November 1, Hurricane Ian has caused a total of 157 fatalities: 5 in Cuba, 146 in Florida, 5 in North Carolina, and 1 in Virginia. As the damage is estimated to be over $50 billion, much of that is from catastrophic flooding due to a storm surge 10–15 ft high.
The cities of Fort Myers Beach and Naples were devastated by the hurricane. Millions of people lost power, and many had to take refuge on their roofs. Sanibel Island and Pine Island were hardest hit by the storm surge. It destroyed countless structures and damaged both the Sanibel Causeway and the bridge to Pine Island.
On October 11, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that total losses from Hurricane Ian would exceed $50 billion. This made it the most expensive hurricane in Florida’s history. This surpasses Hurricane Irma which previously held this title. In addition, Ian marked the 15th billion-dollar disaster for the country in 2022.