Georgia Estimates $250M in Insured Losses from Hurricane Michael

The Georgia Department of Insurance has estimated insured property losses from Hurricane Michael will reach $250 million, according to a statement Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

In figures released Oct. 18, GADOI said more than 35,000 property-related claims were expected.

“Our preliminary estimate today is $250 million in damage across Georgia. That figure may likely rise as new claims are submitted,” Hudgens said.

The Category 4 storm hit the Florida Panhandle on Oct. 10 and then made its way Northeast, continuing its path of destruction through several other Southeast states, including Georgia and the Carolinas.

When Michael entered Georgia, it had weakened but was still a Category 3. It further weakened to a tropical storm as it headed for the Carolinas. But its high winds and pounding rains left downed trees and power outages behind.

Karen Clark & Co. said power outages and low levels of wind damage were experienced across five states.

More than 180,000 people were still without power in Georgia two days after Michael, according to the Associated Press.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said that damage to the state’s agricultural sector “struck deep into the heart of our state and of our farm families.” He said poultry operations, timberlands, cotton crops and pecan orchards were among the hardest hit.

“This is a storm that will have generational consequences,” Black said, the AP reported.

Catastrophe modeling firms have estimated the damage will range from $4 billion to $10 billion. KCC said the highest wind speeds of 155 mph, the equivalent of an EF-3 tornado, impacted a narrow area through Bay County, Fla., and resulted in extensive wind-related damage across all lines of business and construction types.

Ratings agencies said the losses would be substantial, particularly in Florida, but not enough to cause problems for insurers or a pullback in capacity.

“It’s not going to be a market moving storm,” said Howard Mills, Global Insurance Regulatory leader for Deloitte. He added the insurance industry and the global reinsurance industry are “very well capitalized … there are hundreds of billions of dollars in capital and surplus and they are well positioned to handle this storm.”

State Farm, the number one insurer in the Georgia, said it had received 9,580 homeowner claims and 1,400 auto claims from Hurricane Michael. Overall, it has paid more than $30 million in auto and homeowner claims related to the storm in six states.

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