On the eve of the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast, insurer Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) has released a report analyzing the impact of windstorm damage worldwide and the effect on business insurance claims. The report shows that windstorms are the fifth leading cause of loss for businesses. From 2009 to 2013, nearly half (49%) of the windstorm claims over $110,000 analyzed for the report were located in the United States. Europe was second with 19%, followed by South East and Far East Asia in a distant third with 6%. Hurricane Katrina accounts for the largest total of insured windstorm losses at $62.2 billion, more than doubling those of Hurricane Sandy, which came in second with $29.5 billion.
The insured losses for the top-10 costliest North American hurricanes combined ($185 billion) is three times that of the top-10 European and top-10 Asian windstorm losses combined. With the effects of global warming and sea level rise having significant impact on future potential losses, AGCS assessed that by 2070 Asian cities would dominate the top-10 list of cities with assets exposed to coastal flooding. In 2005, this exposure list was comprised of cities located in the United States, Netherlands, and Japan. AGCS noted that the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina such as the impact of storm surge, business continuity, and insurance coverage, have better prepared the Gulf Coast for future storms by improving education, construction, risk-assessment, and claims handling.