Irene could cost insurers up to $3 billion

August 29, 2011 09:30AM

New Yorkers, for the most part, were spared from Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm from Category 1 hurricane status this past Saturday night, the International Business Times reported.

Still, tens of thousands of homes in the city, and about a million people in New York State, lost power. Flooding was serious in parts of the city, made worse by the collapse of retaining walls. Water washed over docks on the West Side of Manhattan, Orchard Beach in the Bronx, the eastbound Belt Parkway and elsewhere.

The storm
will likely cost insurers $1.5 billion to $3 billion to cover claims for damaged homes, vehicles and businesses, said Jose Miranda, director of client advocacy at Eqecat, a catastrophic risk management firm in Oakland, Calif. Total damage, including uninsured losses, could range from $5 billion to $7 billion, he said.

The U.S. government estimated that the cost from wind damage alone will exceed $1 billion. [IBT]