UK, Ireland’s Storm Ophelia to Cost Insurers an Estimated $70.1M: PERILS

November 27, 2017

Insurance losses for Storm Ophelia, which hit Ireland and the United Kingdom on Oct. 16-17, are estimated at €60 million (US$70.1 million), according to PERILS, the independent Zurich-based organization that provides industry-wide catastrophe insurance data.

The majority of the damage caused by the storm occurred in the Republic of Ireland, with the region incurring a market loss of €49 million ($57.3 million), while the market loss for the UK is £10 million ($13.1 million).

As the losses from Ophelia remain significantly below PERILS’ data capture threshold of €200 million ($233.8 million) m for European windstorms, there will be no further loss surveys for this event.

Ophelia was a very rare European windstorm as it resulted from a tropical cyclone traveling much further east across the North Atlantic than usual, explained PERILS. It was the largest hurricane ever recorded that far east in the North Atlantic Basin.

Up until Oct. 14, Ophelia was still classified as a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, said PERILS, noting that when the storm met colder, dry air and colder waters on its way north from the Azores on Oct. 15, it started to dissolve and become “Ex-Hurricane Ophelia.”

It hit Ireland and the UK the following day, and caused significant damage across Ireland and to a lesser extent in Wales, Northern Ireland, north-western England and Scotland. Three people died during the storm, all in Ireland and all due to falling trees.

“In the aftermath of Ophelia, some reports suggested that losses from the event in Ireland alone could reach $1.8 billion,” commented Luzi Hitz, CEO of PERILS.

“After our loss data collection from affected insurance companies, we can conclude that the impact was much less severe, and that the insured loss is entirely manageable by the insurance and reinsurance industries,” he added.

“This storm clearly demonstrates the importance of having an independent source for post-event loss data which allows the market to compare the modeled results against the actual loss data,” Hitz went on to say.

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