Hurricane Irene Could Be Among Costliest U.S. Storms (KIE)

Whether you lost power, got flooded, both or neither, it’s safe to say millions of Americans are suffering from hurricane fatigue today. The media coverage was as massive and widespread as the storm, but nonetheless, it’s always best to be safe than sorry.

Hurricane Irene may have been overhyped, but the fact remains that 26 lives were lost, and the Eastern seaboard is in major cleanup mode. The storm churned through ten states, traveling over 1,000 miles up the U.S. coastline. While Irene was downgraded to Category 1 storm when it made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday, its slow moving speed, high winds, and heavy rainfall caused power outages, flooded homes and businesses, and created a travel nightmare for Monday’s business commute. It was by no means as strong and damaging as expected, but Irene could still make a historic mark in terms of dollar signs.

According to Jeanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute (or I.I.I.), Hurricane Irene could be one of the costliest storms to hit the U.S. “We’re hearing estimates of anywhere between $3 to $8 billion, but until the adjusters can really get into the damaged areas and see what the losses are, these are just estimates.” As a comparison, I.I.I. calculations show that our nation’s two costliest storms were Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which racked up over $45 billion, and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 with over $22 billion in total insured losses. Our 10th most costly storm is Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 totaling over $4 billion in estimated insured losses.

See the full “Breakout” segment below:

Related ETFs: SPDR KBW Insurance (NYSE:KIE)

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