Hong Kong insurance claims caused by natural disasters may climb to a record and exceed $500 million this year should approaching Typhoon Koinu add to this storm season’s damages, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
The city’s heaviest rainstorm on record, coupled with damages from Typhoon Saola — the strongest storm to hit the city in five years — in September are largely to blame, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steven Lam said in a note on Wednesday. But Koinu, which might skirt the city later this week, could add to that total if it brings heavy rains to the city, Lam wrote.
Strong storms are threatening to hit Hong Kong more often. If the city’s observatory hoists the No. 8 signal, the third highest of five levels, for the approaching typhoon, it would be the second straight year for such a high warning level to be raised three times, compared with an annual average of twice in the decade through 2022, according to Lam.
Hong Kong effectively shuts down during typhoon signal No. 8 and above, as well as for rainstorms categorized at black — the highest level. September was a particularly bad month for the financial hub because it was hit by a No. 10 typhoon and a black rainstorm in back-to-back weeks.
Photograph: Vehicles submerged in floodwater during heavy rain in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Hong Kong’s heaviest rainstorm since records began in 1884 flooded the financial hubs streets and sent torrents of water rushing through subway stations, bringing much of the city to a standstill and forcing the stock market to stop trading. Photo credit: Lam Yik/Bloomberg
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