Infrastructure Damage Could Drive Sandy Losses Higher Than Current Estimates

Updated: Nov. 21, 1:45 p.m. EST

A financial analyst says losses from Superstorm Sandy could be even higher than Risk Management Solutions’ $20 billion to $25 billion estimate once infrastructure losses are factored in.

Meyer Shields with Stifel Nicolaus cites damage to New York City’s transit system as a loss that could drive the ultimate total higher than current estimates.

Vincent M. DeAugustino, an associate analyst for Stifel Nicolaus, says that the assessment that the transit system losses could make storm losses higher comes from the transit system's experience with Hurricane Irene last year. He says MTA losses were shared  between FEMA and private insurers, pirmarily American International Group and Lloyd's. He says the assumption is that the same would be expected with Sandy.

The MTA is self-insured, but has a reinsurance program in place.   

Shields also says he expects New York and New Jersey to account for 90 percent of Sandy losses.

Shields does not believe Sandy will alter the gradual rate increases the industry has been experiencing, but he says “modest” reinsurance pricing increases in homeowners and Northeast property and casualty lines could result from the storm.

Among insurers, Chubb, Travelers, Hanover and The Hartford are expected to take a significant hit from Sandy due to their high exposure in the region, Shields says.

This story was updated on Nov. 21 at 1:45 p.m. EST with comments from DeAugustino.

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