Hurricane Earl Proves Kinder, Gentler Than First Feared

By | September 20, 2010

Risk modelers say Hurricane Earl caused very minimal damage as it passed by the East Coast and agents in the hardest hit area of the United States, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, say they have been receiving few claims.

“We had very little damage,” and only a smattering of claims, mostly from wind damage, said Dinah Tugwell, of the Vogedes Insurance Agency in Kitty Hawk.

“Unless people don’t know it yet,” she joked.

When Hurricane Earl swept up from around the Bahamas and appeared to be growing in intensity, people in the Outer Banks and on Cape Cod in Massachusetts braced themselves. Those were the two areas with a chance of being hit directly.

EQECAT Inc., the risk modeler, estimated costs for North Carolina and Virginia might range from $0.2 billion to $0.7 billion.

Instead, the Hurricane passed by North Carolina offshore, and the sustained winds in the Outer Banks were only about 30-36 miles per hour, with gusts up to 63 miles per hour. That is less than the area sometimes experiences during March and April’s Nor’easters.

Up North, the hurricane never got closer than 100 miles off of Nantucket Island.

Both the Outer Banks and Cape Cod had some roads that were temporarily flooded.

EQECAT said after the storm that it does not expect insured damages in North Carolina and Virginia to exceed $100 million.

AIR Worldwide Corp., of Boston, said it does not expect “any significant insured losses.”

Prior to the storm, insurers mobilized claims representatives and response units to have them on hand. But those precautions proved to be unnecessary.

Rick Roth, a field operations scout for Farmers, joked to a reporter for the local, Virginia Beach newspaper, the Virginian-Pilot, that instead of getting inundated with claims filers, they only got a few curious passersby.

He told the newspaper that they asked: “What are you guys doing here?”

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Insurance Journal West September 20, 2010
September 20, 2010
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