Insured wind losses from category 1 or 2 hurricanes are generally much less than from major hurricanes – categories 3, 4 and 5. Sometimes, they are comparable to losses from a tropical storm; sometimes more severe. It depends on which part of Florida is affected and the concentration of development impacted.

Tropical Storm Debby from earlier this season produced $105 million in wind losses in Florida, according to Property Claim Services, the insurance community’s bookkeeper of catastrophic insured losses. (There was probably much more damage from flooding, not covered by homeowners policies. I don’t have the National Flood Insurance Program estimate yet. It could be  two or three times the wind damage, so total losses – wind and flood - might be $300 to $400 million.) Tropical Storm Faye from 2008 was $195 million in wind losses.

We have had one category 1 landfall in Florida this decade. Hurricane Katrina was a category 1 when it went across south Florida on its way to Mississippi and Louisiana. The estimated insured wind loss in Florida was $707 million. Hurricane Rita, while at one point a category 5 storm, was apparently at tropical storm strength only when it affected Florida in 2005, causing generally storm surge flooding.  The insured loss was estimated at $33.5 million.

Frances in 2004 was a category 2 at landfall in Florida.  Estimated insured loss was $4.275 billion. In 2005, Hurricane Dennis was a category 2 at landfall.  The insured wind loss estimate was $855 million.

Here are the major hurricanes from 2004/2005 and their insured wind losses in Florida:

2004: Charley, Jeanne, and Ivan were category 3 or better at landfall. Charley’s wind losses were $7.4 billion; Jeanne, $3 billion; and Ivan, $4.3 billion.

In 2005, Wilma was a category 3 at landfall, with $10.3 billion in losses.

Sam Miller