Insured losses from Isaac could reach up to $1.5 billion

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 1 Hurricane on August 28 with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (127.8 km/h.) Catastrophe modeler EQECAT said storm surge heights of between six and 12 feet were reported along the Southeastern Louisiana and Mississippi coast. The surge, in combination with waves, has put some coastal areas under water.

EQECAT said preliminary reports peg the insured loss estimate for onshore property (personal, commercial and industrial and including the time element) is expected to be between $500 million and $1.5 billion. Economic losses to offshore energy assets, including platforms, pipelines and shut-on production, are expected to range from $500 million to $1 billion, but reliable insured exposure information is not available.

“Although Hurricane Isaac’s landfall date and location coincides with that of Hurricane Katrina (2005), Isaac is a much weaker storm compared to Katrina,” said an update from EQECAT. “Hurricane Gustav (2008) and Hurricane Florence (1998) are useful historic benchmarks for Isaac, both with similar tracks but different wind intensities. Gustav was a Category 2 storm at landfall while Florence was a Category 1. The insured loss from Gustav (estimated if it were to occur in 2012) is about $2.5 billion, and the losses from Florence would be less than $500 Million. Gustav was a much stronger storm. Hurricane Florence was weaker than Isaac.”

Emergency response teams have been attending the area. Canadian restoration firm FirstOnSite Restoration has mobilized to the Gulf Coast to respond to damage caused by Isaac. The response is being coordinated from a Central Command Center in Meridian, Mississippi with subordinate Command Centers in New Orleans, Gulf Port, MS and Biloxi, MS.

Operations are led by Billy Short II, a veteran responder of every major U.S. hurricane in the past decade, including Katrina and Ike. Short also led the response to the F3 Tornado in Goderich and the wildfires that devastated the town of Slave Lake, Alberta.

“We are poised to respond to damage along the gulf coast states and states further north that are expected to experience floods, such as Tennessee and Arkansas,” stated Short in a statement. “As soon as the evacuation order is lifted, we will be there to support our Canadian customers with property in the damaged area as well as our US customers.”