Insurance regulators in New Jersey and New York — the two states hit hard by Superstorm Sandy — reported today that insurers have settled 93 percent of the claims received in the wake of Sandy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
The I.I.I. said insurers would pay an estimated $18.8 billion in claims to their policyholders, making Sandy the third-costliest storm in U.S. history, as defined by insurance claims payouts.
More than half of the 1.5 million claims for Sandy-related damage to homes, vehicles, boats and businesses were filed in either New Jersey or New York. The others were filed in a dozen other states and the District of Columbia.
Hurricane Katrina in 2005 ($48.7 billion) and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 ($25.6 billion) were larger insurance events. Both of those claims payout numbers are expressed in 2012 dollars; moreover, Katrina and Andrew were hurricanes when they made landfall, whereas Sandy was a post-tropical cyclone.
“The billions of dollars that private insurers paid to home, business and vehicle owners have helped to stabilize the economies of states hit hard by Sandy. Those same dollars also helped to spur growth and create more resilient communities for the future,” said Robert Hartwig, president of I.I.I.
The estimates of claims payments do not include claims for flood damage insured under the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
However, I.I.I. added that the percentage of homes and businesses situated on the Atlantic Seaboard, with flood insurance policies prior to Sandy, was comparatively low as compared to other hurricane-prone states, such as Louisiana and Florida.
The damage caused by Sandy generated nearly 1.1 million claims from homeowners, a quarter million from vehicle owners and more than 200,000 claims from business owners. Business claims accounted for only 13 percent of all those filed after Sandy, yet according to I.I.I., they will account for 48 percent of all the Sandy-related claim dollars paid.
In addition to New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia, Sandy claims were also filed in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
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