As Hurricane Sandy makes its final approach towards the New Jersey/New York area with landfall expected this evening, insurers are closely monitoring the storm and ready to respond to the needs of their policyholders.
The Wall Street Journal reports that insurers are assembling rapid-response teams along the Eastern seaboard and preparing to deploy claims specialists into hard-hit communities once the storm passes by.
In its 8am EDT advisory, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Sandy is expected to transition into a frontal or wintertime low pressure system prior to landfall:
HoweverÃ¢â‚¬ ¦This transition will not be accompanied by a weakening of the systemÃ¢â‚¬ ¦and in factÃ¢â‚¬ ¦a little strengthening is possible during this process. Sandy is expected to weaken after moving inland.Ã¢â‚¬
See the NHCÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s statement about SandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s transition to a post-tropical cyclone here.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s important to recognize that hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles from SandyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 485 miles, making this a very expansive storm.
Insurers play a vital role in helping individuals and businesses recover from the potentially devastating effects of disaster such as a catastrophic hurricane, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Insured catastrophe losses in the United States totaled $35.9 billion in 2011, well above the 2000 to 2010 average of $23.8 billion (in 2011 dollars) according to figures from Munich Re. Thunderstorms, including tornado events, were the costliest type of natural disaster in 2011, based on insured losses (over $25 billion). However, tropical cyclones, which include hurricanes, were the second most costly event category ($5.5 billion in insured losses), with Hurricane Irene accounting for most of the losses ($5 billion, including flood losses covered under the National Flood Insurance Program).