It was a doozy.
Flying, biting killer sharks literally whipped into a frenzy by freak tornadoes wreaked havoc on Los Angelenos.
The catastrophe played out on the Syfy Channel on Thursday night, lighting up Twitter as the top trend all evening from coast to coast, and now the campy disaster flick “SharkNado” has some solid catastrophic loss estimates for insurance professionals to sink their teeth into.
Boston-based catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide released estimates on insured losses from the “SharkNado” event, which the firm on Friday said will likely exceed $100 billion.
The massive figure, which outranks the top three recorded catastrophes in U.S. history combined, comes from devastated wide swaths of property throughout southern California, including Santa Monica, Hollywood, Los Angeles and the Valley, areas where one can find some of the most expensive homes in the state.
According to AIR, the hardest hit areas were those impacted by great white sharks, “although isolated pockets of hammerheads also caused severe damage.”
The two-hour TV show had water spouts flinging a variety of sharks onshore and farther inland, through storm drains, into rapidly flooding city streets, and in through the windows of homes and establishments, where helpless victims were torn asunder, consumed or unceremoniously smashed.
It became a Twitter sensation when it aired first on the East Coast, and following that on the West Coast. Countless tweets popped up after every campy scene, making fun of has-been or over-the-hill actors – one-time hottie Tara Reid, the aging John Heard and former “Beverly Hills 90210” star and current Chippendales dancer Ian Ziering star in the made for television flick – as well as the cheesy special effects that have become a trademark of Syfy originals.
The movie, which didn’t quite achieve the ratings many expected following the social media rage, is already expecting to give birth to a sequel.
According to AIR – if you’re reading this and don’t know by now the release issued by AIR was itself a campy effort to draw a little attention for the firm, as well as the importance of cat modeling, then you should probably stop reading – those economic losses will include the “opportunity cost of countless hours of TV viewing and a near meltdown of social media outlet, Twitter.”
“The SharkNado is the kind of peril that keeps me up at night,” Scott Stransky, senior scientist at AIR, stated in the release. “I have always believed that something of this magnitude was possible, but nothing can prepare you for when the SharkNado actually arrives. Of course we extend our condolences to those affected by this event, but as a climate scientist this is an unbelievable opportunity to learn about a new peril.”
According to the AIR release, its scientists and engineers will immediately begin investigation into this emerging risk in order to determine the feasibility of a SharkNado catastrophe model.
“Considerations will include a determination of the likely return period of the phenomenon and an assessment of whether the risk is insurable,” the release stated.
California’s official spokesperson for insurers postulated that most of the damages via flying sharks, raging winds and mass-scale flooding would be perils that may be covered under various insurance policies.
“It’s one of those things that really stretches the realm of imagination,” said Pete Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Network of California.
In California wind damage would be covered under a standard homeowners policy, unlike in areas of the country along Tornado Alley, where there are specific coverages that are required, Moraga said.
“If a tornado hit a home in California, their standard policy would cover that,” he said.
A standard flood policy would cover the water surge from a “SharkNado” event, and even flying sharks might be covered under the standard homeowners policy, according to Moraga.
“Flying objects are covered under the standard policy,” he said. “Theoretically, if a shark fell through your home, that would be covered.”
He also noted that having comprehensive coverage on a motor vehicle would likely mean a car owner would be taken care of if a tornado-flung shark were to land on it.
Moraga, who as one of his primary duties with the group serves in a sort of public service capacity as he warns consumers about the benefits of and need for insurance, hopes films like “SharkNado” make people think about the importance of being insured.
“An event like this might help put some teeth into people’s awareness of disasters,” said Moraga, who evidently just couldn’t help himself.