Estimate of Losses From Devastating Hawaii Wildfires Increases to $14B-$16B

August 14, 2023

AccuWeather increased its estimate of the total damage and economic loss from the devastating wildfires burning in Hawaii to $14 to $16 billion.

The update follows AccuWeather’s preliminary estimate last week of total damage and economic loss of $8-10 billion.

The death toll from fast-moving wildfires in Maui rose to 93, making them the deadliest in the US in more than 100 years, according to a Bloomberg report on Insurance Journal.

“AccuWeather’s preliminary forecast for total damage and economic loss from the wildfires in Hawaii was issued on Thursday, before any other sources issued any quantitative information describing economic impact,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said in a statement. “AccuWeather experts have continually monitored reports from Hawaii from a variety of sources, and unfortunately, upon surveying the latest damage reports from Hawaii, especially in Maui, to homes, businesses, boats, the extensive loss of life, evacuations, widespread power outages and other factors, we increased our estimate.”

The cause of the blazes has yet to be determined, however shares of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. plunged by a record on concern that its power lines may be linked to the deadly Maui wildfires. Hawaiian Electric, which operates the utility that serves Maui, has come under criticism for not turning off power despite weather forecasters’ warnings that dry, gusty winds could create critical fire conditions, Bloomberg is reporting.

Catastrophe modeler Karen Clark & Company late last week issued an estimate that some 3,500 structures fall within the fire perimeter.

“KCC estimates the insured loss will be the second largest in Hawaii’s history—second only to a repeat of Hurricane Iniki based on today’s property values,” a KCC release states.

The latest AccuWeather los estimate would equate to about 15% of the state of Hawaii’s gross domestic product and would exceed the GDP of Maui.

Much of Maui’s economy is based on tourism, an industry that will take months if not longer to recover. Communications and power infrastructure have also been severely affected by the disaster, leaving thousands without means to contact emergency services, according to the AccuWeather update.


Topics Catastrophe Trends Natural Disasters Profit Loss Wildfire Hawaii

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