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October 2018 preview: Historical catastrophe activity

By Ted Gregory  |  October 3, 2018

Dalmation holding umbrellaOctober marks the end of peak hurricane season. While the fourth quarter generally tends to be less active than the third, insurers should still be vigilant in preparing to assist policyholders in case of late-season events.

22 October catastrophes designated

Over the past decade, PCS® designated 22 catastrophes in October, which included 15 wind and thunderstorm events, three hurricanes, three wildfires, and one winter storm.

Since 2007, October hurricane catastrophes totaled over an estimated $21.5 billion in insured losses with more than 2 million claims. The storm remembered as Superstorm Sandy occurred late in the month in 2012 and was the most significant October storm of the past decade. The wildfire catastrophes, which all occurred in 2017, had a combined estimate loss that exceeded $12 billion with nearly 39,000 claims.

Catastrophe frequency most significant in 2017

Over the past ten years, the October catastrophe frequency was most significant in 2017, when there were seven PCS-designated catastrophes:  three wildland fire events, three wind and thunderstorms, and one hurricane. October 2015 had the second highest severe event frequency of the past decade with 6 catastrophe designations, all of which were wind and thunderstorm events. In 2008 and 2009, there were no PCS-designated catastrophes in October.

While 2017 had the greatest frequency of designated catastrophes, you’ll note in the graph below that 2012 saw the greatest claims severity due to Hurricane Sandy, which was responsible for 1,580,000 estimated claims and $18.75 billion in insured losses. The graph illustrates catastrophe activity for the month of October from 2008 to 2017 in terms of dollar losses and claim volumes.

PCS® Historical Data October 2008–2017


Ted Gregory is director of operations for PCS at Verisk. You can contact Ted at tgregory@verisk.com.