Hurricane Maria: Atlantic hurricane season living up to its expectations

by Jon Sonnenschein on September 22, 2017

BN-VF226_MARIAU_J_20170920195636.jpgHurricane Maria devastation, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal

Hurricane Maria barreled into Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane and was the most powerful storm the island has seen in nearly a century. Earlier in the week, Maria hit the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 hurricane. Maria is the fourth major hurricane (Category 3 or more) this season and on track with NOAA’s predictions. While four major hurricanes should not come as a surprise, what has been surprising is how close together they have occurred. Maria comes on the heels of Harvey, Irma, and Jose, making it imperative that insurers work to stay ahead of these events and be prepared in a time of extreme weather uncertainty.

The latest on Maria: Puerto Rico without power and severe flooding

Maria hit the Caribbean just weeks after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma caused an estimated $143 billion in damages, reminding us of the extreme volatility of hurricane season—and that just when we think the worst has passed, a Category 5 hurricane might be brewing in the Atlantic. With power down across the entire island, and potentially months before it’s back up, Puerto Rico, and much of the Caribbean, will be working to return to some level of normalcy for months, even years. While loss numbers are still being tallied, here are some of the alarming stats from Maria so far:

  • Third-strongest storm to make landfall in the U.S. when it hit Puerto Rico
  • Dumped almost 40 inches of rain in some parts of Puerto Rico in just 24 hours
  • Puerto Rico is entirely without power and may be for an estimated four-six months

SpatialKey Event Response Support for Maria

While insured losses won’t be as impactful as they were for Harvey and Irma, insurers with risk accumulations in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean still need to stay on top of this event. To that end, below is a list of data partners directly integrated with SpatialKey to help you respond quickly. We will update this list as data and footprints become available, so check back often:

Maria is another stark reminder that we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature, and preparation and response are critical for insurers. Natural catastrophes are plaguing much of North America right now, and while Harvey, Irma, Jose, and now Maria have gotten the most attention, there’s a lot more going on. Severe wildfires continue to torment the Northwest and two major earthquakes have struck Mexico this month, including Tuesday’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake, which occurred just days after Mexico's strongest earthquake (8.1 magnitude) in a century. These events are seemingly unrelenting. And whether or not this is the so-called “new norm,” now is the time to rise to the latest frequency and severity challenge with data, analytics, and science. With applications for hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and industry-leading data for every major peril, when these events happen, SpatialKey provides a data and analytics hub where you can immediately gauge the impact to your portfolio.

For questions about Maria, or other recent events, please reach out, or contact your SpatialKey account manager directly. Make sure to review our “best resources” guide from Hurricane Irma, as this information is equally resourceful for Maria. As always, we’re here to help you safeguard your insureds and your portfolios throughout the entire lifecycle of these events.

Topics: Hurricane, Event Analysis, Analytics, Event response, Data, Hurricane Data, Hurricane Maria

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