NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 1998— Insurers are expected to pay $2.9 billion to U.S. victims of Hurricane Georges, according to revised estimates of insured property losses by Insurance Services Office, Inc.'s (ISO) Property Claim Services (PCS) unit.
The revised estimate is up $400 million from PCS' October estimate of $2.5 billion.
Hurricane Georges wreaked widespread devastation in late September in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and four Gulf Coast states, pounding homes and businesses with 115 mile-per-hour winds, torrential rain and widespread flooding.
Revised estimates by ISO's PCS unit show increased losses for the four Gulf Coast states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi —with losses more than doubling to $665 million in Mississippi. The total loss for damage to personal and commercial property and automobiles in the Gulf Coast states increased to $1.15 billion from the initial $750 million estimate.
PCS estimates of $1.7-billion damage in Puerto Rico and $50 million in the U.S. Virgin Islands remain unchanged.
Hurricane Georges is the costliest hurricane this year, and the first billion-dollar catastrophe since Hurricane Fran in September 1996, when North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio suffered insured property damage estimated at $1.6 billion, according to PCS.
ISO's PCS unit defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property and casualty policyholders and insurers.
The PCS estimate represents anticipated insured loss on an industry-wide basis arising from the catastrophe, reflecting the total net insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, personal property, vehicles, boats, related property items and business-interruption losses. The estimates exclude loss-adjustment expenses.