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October 2017 preview: Historical catastrophe activity

By Ted Gregory  |  October 5, 2017
Irma damage captured by Geomni
Hurricane Irma’s damage in Florida. As October approaches, so does the end of hurricane season. But insurers should still be prepared for any late-season disturbances. Aerial photo courtesy of Geomni, a Verisk business.

As October approaches, so does the end of peak hurricane season. While the fourth quarter generally tends to be less active than peak season, insurers should still be vigilant in preparing to assist policyholders in the event of any late-season disturbances.

October catastrophes

Over the past decade, Property Claim Services (PCS®) designated 17 catastrophes in the month of October. Most October events during this period were wind and thunderstorm occurrences—a total of 13 designations. The remainder of the events consisted of two hurricanes, one wildland fire, and one winter storm.

In both cases involving hurricanes, the events were the only PCS-designated catastrophes in October for that year. The earlier of the two hurricanes occurred in October 2012 and is remembered as Superstorm Sandy. Sandy occurred late in the month and was the most significant October storm in the past decade, with approximately $18.75 billion in insured losses. The most recent October hurricane was Matthew in 2016, and that involved approximately $2.66 billion in insured losses.

October historical data

Since 2007, October catastrophe frequency was most significant in 2015, with six PCS-designated catastrophes—all wind and thunderstorm events. In 2008 and 2009, there were no PCS-designated catastrophes in October.

Ted Gregory is director of operations for PCS at Verisk. You can contact Ted at