NU Online News Service, Nov. 29, 11:55 a.m. EST

Hurricane Irene appears to have a better chance of cracking a list of the top ten costliest U.S. hurricanes after a big increase in estimated losses was released from Property Claims Services (PCS).

Verisk Analytics’ PCS has raised its estimate of insured property losses from the late August storm 18 percent to $4.3 billion.

PCS originally released an estimate of $3.65 billion. It says it continues to monitor insurers’ daily reports of claims from many areas. Irene, either as a hurricane or tropical storm, affected more than a dozen states on the East Coast.

 Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 affected many of the same states as Hurricane Irene and caused about $4.18 billion (in 2010 dollars) in insured losses, making it the 10th costliest storm in U.S. history.

If insured loss estimates from some of the catastrophe modelers are correct, Irene could move higher up on the list.

In September modeler AIR Worldwide said it expects between $3 billion and $6 billion in insured losses in the U.S. from Hurricane Irene—meaning the storm could move ahead of the ninth costliest hurricane, Frances, also in 2004. Frances caused $5.25 billion in insured losses.

Catastrophe modeler Eqecat said the U.S. can expect $1.5 billion to $2.8 billion in insured losses from Hurricane Irene and modeler Risk Management Solutions submitted an estimate of $2 billion and $4.5 billion in the U.S.