CT’s Sophy: Bulk of Ian claims so far for wind rather than flood

The vast majority of Hurricane Ian claims filed so far relate to wind damage rather than flood, with the bulk coming from residential policyholders rather than commercial clients, Charles Taylor Adjusting CEO, US Cullen Sophy has told The Insurer TV.

Almost two weeks on from Hurricane Ian’s landfall close to Fort Myers in southwest Florida, Sophy said he and his colleagues have so far seen many more wind claims than flood.

However, Sophy, who has led Charles Taylor Adjusting in the US since May this year, said it remains “very early on”, and claims “are still coming in”.

As such, he forecast there will be a more even split between wind and flood claims as adjuster teams arrive onsite.

“Early on, [it’s] more residential [claims] than commercial, just because people are getting back to their homes, probably quicker than people are getting back into businesses and turning the lights on,” Sophy added.

While much of the media’s focus has been on those regions hit hardest by the storm such as Fort Myers and other low-lying coastal areas, Sophy said damage has reached fairly far inland.

“With every hurricane right with the eye – where it’s centred – there’s massive devastation, usually near the sea walls in any coastal-lying city,” Sophy said.

But as he noted, the storm’s outer bands “dropped so much rain and [there was] so much wind”. As a result, Sophy said he and his colleagues “are seeing quite a wide path of devastation inland as [the storm] came in”.

“We’re [also] seeing more single structure buildings, homes, right now that have damage from [the storm’s] wind and rain,” Sophy added.

Loss estimates

In the two weeks since Hurricane Ian’s landfall, modelled estimates for insured losses from the storm have moved on an upward trajectory which now points to one of the costliest insured events on record.

RMS’ issuance of a best estimate of $67bn for private market insured losses from Ian marked the latest increase in modelled loss expectations for the event.

The RMS figure was at the top end of publicly issued modelled estimates to date, marginally ahead of an earlier $63bn estimate from Karen Clark & Company.

The estimate brings the mean average of best estimates/midpoints across the four largest modelling firms to ~$55bn.

Watch the full four-minute video with Cullen Sophy, Charles Taylor Adjusting CEO, US for more claims insight from Hurricane Ian