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October 2015 Preview: Historical Catastrophe Activity

As October approaches, we’re entering the end of the historical hurricane peak season. Although the season is ending, insurers should still be vigilant and prepared to assist policyholders in the event of a late-season event.

While the fourth quarter tends to be less active in terms of catastrophes, over the past ten years there have been 15 PCS-designated catastrophe events in October. Two of the 15 were tropical events, Hurricane Wilma in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Superstorm Sandy occurred late in the month and was the most significant October event in the past decade, with $18.75 billion in insured losses. The remainder of the October events over the past ten years included nine wind and thunderstorm events, two winter storms, one wildland fire, and one workers' compensation event designation.

Since 2005, October catastrophe frequency was highest in 2010, with three PCS-designated wind and thunderstorm events. In addition, October is not too soon for winter storms: Two winter storm events have been designated in October over the past decade. The October 2011 winter storm event caused $665 million in insured losses.

Within the past ten years, PCS has designated only one wildland fire event in October — the Witch Fire in California — which caused $1.3 billion in insured losses and is the largest PCS-designated wildfire of the past decade.


Ted Gregory

Ted Gregory is manager, Property Claim Services (PCS). PCS is a Verisk Analytics (Nasdaq:VRSK) business.

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