Catastrophic Season Nears End: Harvey, Irma, Maria & Nate
The catastrophic 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is thankfully nearing its end on November 30. Back-to-back storms resulted in billions of dollars in property damage, testing the strength of our insurance industry and the way we respond to catastrophes.
Centauri Insurance currently operates in nine states including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Hawaii, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Texas, and several of the states were impacted when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma made landfall. Our company received nearly 3,000 claims from Hurricane Harvey totaling approximately $11.4 million in incurred losses. Hurricane Irma came right on the heels of Harvey with approximately 1,600 claims and $10.3 million in incurred losses.
Below are the industry estimates of insured losses to date by state for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma according to ISO:
Centauri has numerous tools that help the company prepare for catastrophic events. Centauri puts on drills for major weather events including a major drill in the spring when the company simulates a storm approaching and ultimately making landfall in one of the company’s largest states — Texas, Louisiana and Florida. "It’s a fully operational, company-wide exercise," said Ricardo Espino, President and CEO of Centauri. “Once a storm hits, everything we prepared for goes according to plan.”
“The company is focused on coastal exposures in many states,” said Espino. “We prepare for this kind of event year-round. This is how the company stands out and differentiates itself.”
The company also uses hurricane-modeling software to examine potential tracks and landfall areas. Centauri runs its entire portfolio of policies through the software to develop possible scenarios of how much damage customers might see and where it might need to deploy resources.
All of these tools help Centauri stay true to our mission "to be there when you need us, by having your interest in mind in everything we do." The role of ensuring that our customers are able to recover quickly from a catastrophe also trickles down to our network of independent agents. Our agents play a critical role in the wake of a major hurricane, but their value doesn’t go away when the recovery is over. Our industry must use major storm events to help customers understand their exposures and insurance needs. Learn more in this quick video from Insurance Journal.
View Insurance Journal's Video on Lessons Learned from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season:
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2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Records Broken
September 2017 was the single most active month on record for Atlantic hurricanes, topping the previous record from September 2004.
From Franklin to Ophelia, ten hurricanes have developed over 10 weeks, consecutively, tying a record for most hurricanes in a row. The last time this happened was way back in 1893.
As it swept across the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma generated winds averaging just more than 185 mph for more than 33 hours, longer than any super-storm of comparable power ever recorded.
In one area southeast of Houston, Harvey unloaded more than 50 inches of water, breaking the previous record of approximately 58 inches set by Tropical Storm Amelia in 1978.
Three different Category 4 hurricanes made U.S. landfall — Harvey, Irma and Maria. That's never happened since we started keeping records.
The season produced two Category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria. Only five other known seasons have had two or more Category 5s, the most recent of which were 2005 and 2007
2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season Timeline
Here's a look at the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season to date compiled by CNN:
April 6, 2017 - The Tropical Meteorology Project from Colorado State University predicts that the "2017 Atlantic basin hurricane season will have slightly below-average activity." They predict a total of 11 named storms and 4 hurricanes.
May 25, 2017 - NOAA forecasts a 45% chance for an above-normal season, predicting a 70% chance of having 11-17 named storms, of which 5-9 could develop into hurricanes, including 2-4 major hurricanes (categories 3-5).
August 9, 2017 - NOAA raises its forecast prediction to 14-19 named tropical systems this year and increases the predicted range of likely major hurricanes to 2-5. NOAA forecasters predict the "season has the potential to be extremely active, and could be the most active since 2010."
Tropical Storm Arlene
April 20-21, 2017 - Tropical Storm Arlene forms in the central Atlantic Ocean. According to the National Hurricane Center, April tropical storms are rare, and this is only the second one (the first was 2003's Tropical Storm Ana) since the use of satellite. Arlene moves southwest and south until it dissipates.
Tropical Storm Bret
June 19-20, 2017 - Tropical Storm Bret forms about 125 miles southeast of Trinidad and weakens into a tropical wave.
Tropical Storm Cindy
June 20-22, 2017 - Tropical Storm Cindy forms in the Gulf of Mexico making landfall just south of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Tropical Storm Don
July 17, 2017 - Tropical Storm Don forms about 485 miles east-southeast of Barbados and weakens to an open wave the next day.
Tropical Storm Emily
July 31, 2017 - Tropical Storm Emily forms near the west coast of Florida and makes landfall on Anna Maria Island.
August 6-10, 2017 - Tropical Storm Franklin forms over the northwestern Caribbean making landfall on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It then strengthens to a Category 1 hurricane making landfall in Veracruz, Mexico.
August 13-17, 2017 - Tropical Storm Gert forms in the Atlantic Ocean and becomes the second hurricane of the season before weakening to a post-tropical cyclone.
August 17, 2017 - Tropical Storm Harvey forms about 250 miles east of Barbados.
August 24-25, 2017 - Harvey strengthens into a hurricane and makes landfall between Port Arkansas and Port O'Connor, Texas, as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph. Harvey is the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Charley in 2004.
August 26-29, 2017 - Harvey is downgraded to a tropical storm, but stalls over land causing extreme flooding in Texas.
August 30, 2017 - After retreating from the Houston area back to the Gulf of Mexico, Harvey slowly moves northeast and makes a second landfall near Cameron, Louisiana.
The death toll from Harvey is at least 82 people. Harvey dumped an estimated 27 trillion gallons of rain over Texas and Louisiana during a six-day period, according to WeatherBell, and also set a record for the most rainfall ever from a tropical cyclone in the continental US, at 51 inches of rain. Estimates put eventual total losses at as much as $75 billion.
August 30-31, 2017 - Tropical Storm Irma forms 420 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands and becomes a hurricane and intensifies into a Category 3 hurricane.
September 4-9, 2017 - Irma strengthens to a Category 4 hurricane about 490 miles east of the Leeward Islands and intensifies into a "potentially catastrophic" Category 5 hurricane as it roars toward the northeastern Caribbean islands hitting Antigua, Barbuda St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Kitts and Nevis, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, causing major damage and devastation to many of the islands. It causes major damage to the Dominican Republic as it passes along the northern coast of Hispaniola. Blasts through Turks and Caicos overnight. Irma makes landfall in Cuba the next night as a Category 5 storm, with winds of 125 mph. The Bahamas are hit by hurricane-force winds. At least 44 people have died in the Caribbean.
September 10, 2017 - The Florida Keys take a direct hit from Irma as a Category 4 storm. Initial estimates are that 25% of houses on the island chain are destroyed, and 65% have major damage. Irma moves on to hit Marco Island as a Category 3 storm, then travels up the Gulf of Mexico to pummel Naples, Florida.
September 11, 2017 - Irma is downgraded to a tropical storm in north Florida, and to a tropical depression soon after its wind gusts hit Atlanta, causing power outages and downed trees.
The death toll from Irma in the US is at least 61 people.
September 5-8, 2017 - Tropical Storm Jose forms about 1500 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and strengthens into a hurricane becoming a category 4 east and southeast of the northern Leeward Islands.
September 14-19, 2017 - Jose weakens to a tropical storm and then becomes a hurricane again as it makes its way up the Atlantic, east of the US coast. It eventually weakens to a tropical storm.
September 6-9, 2017 - Tropical Storm Katia forms in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico and strengthens into a hurricane the same day. Katie makes landfall in eastern Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane.
Tropical Storm Lee
September 16-17, 2017 - Tropical Storm Lee forms in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, west and southwest of Cabo Verde islands, and then weakens to a tropical depression.
September 22-30, 2017 - Lee reorganizes and strengthens into a tropical storm, swirling over open water 940 miles east of Bermuda. Lee becomes a hurricane and intensifies to a Category 3 before weakening to a tropical storm.
September 16-18, 2017 - Tropical Storm Maria forms about 620 miles east-southeast of lesser Antilles. Maria rapidly intensifies into a Category 5 hurricane hitting and devastating the Caribbean island of Dominica.
September 20, 2017 - Maria makes landfall near Yabucoa in Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane. It is the strongest storm to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years. The energy grid is heavily damaged, with an island-wide power outage. Restoring electricity may take months, the governor of Puerto Rico says. The storm also hits the US Virgin Islands, where at least one person dies, likely from drowning.
September 22, 2017 - The National Weather Service orders the evacuation of about 70,000 people living near the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico because a dam is in danger of failing. The storm continues to churn northward, making landfall in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 hurricane. Maria eventually weakens and heads northeast out to sea.
The death toll from Maria is at least 51 people in Puerto Rico and at least 15 in Dominica.
October 5, 2017 - Tropical Storm Nate forms near the coast of Nicaragua. At least 28 people are killed after Nate passes over Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Honduras. Hundreds are rescued from floodwaters and mudslides. Many lose power and running water.
October 6-7, 2017 - Nate strengthens into a hurricane about 95 miles west-northwest from the western tip of Cuba and makes US landfall as a Category 1 storm near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeast Louisiana.
October 8, 2017 - Nate makes its second and final US landfall early in the morning as a Category 1 hurricane near Biloxi, Mississippi.
October 9-16, 2017 - Tropical Storm Ophelia forms in the Atlantic Ocean and strengthens to a Category 3 storm about 220 miles south of the Azores. Ophelia is the farthest east that a major hurricane has ever been in the Atlantic. The previous record was held by Frances in 1980, according to CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink. Ophelia weakens from a Category 3 to a Category 1 hurricane throughout the day making landfall as a post-tropical storm in Ireland. Three deaths are attributed to the storm.
Tropical Storm Philippe
October 28, 2017 - Tropical Storm Philippe forms in the Atlantic Ocean. It dissipates the following day.