Bahamas facing $7bn Dorian loss

Channels: Insurance

Companies: Karen Clark & Company

Total economic losses in the Bahamas from hurricane Dorian, which has devastated large parts of the Islands, will hit $7bn, according to catastrophe risk modeller Karen Clark and Company (KCC).

The estimate includes building, contents and business interruption exposures for commercial, residential and industrial properties. Infrastructure and auto losses are not included in the estimate.

KCC said most of the damage occurred on the Abaco and Grand Bahama islands after making landfall at Marsh Harbour, on Abaco Island, as a category 5 hurricane on 1 September bringing winds of 185mph.

Along with the winds, Dorian also brought storm surge flooding, with surge heights of over 20ft over the next 24 hours causing widespread devastation - and leaving at least 20 people dead.

Despite the destruction caused, KCC revealed Dorian's path had not been the "worst-case scenario" as severe damage to the most-populated island failed to materialise. If New Providence Island, with a population of 272,000, had been severely impacted, losses would have been significantly higher, according to KCC.

KCC added Dorian was the fourth category 5 hurricane to hit the Bahamas since records began in 1900, although it was the first to reach 185mph wind speeds. Only four other storms had previously reached this level of intensity in the North Atlantic and only one of these made landfall.

Latest updates show Dorian is set to hit the US East Coast over the next few days with the Carolinas most likely to suffer the worst effects.

Paul Walsh