Gulf Coast residents have been intently watching Tropical Storm Isaac over the last few days, but for one Boston firm, studying hurricanes is a nearly full-time pursuit.
The firm is Karen Clark & Co., which provides software products and consulting services that help insurance companies evaluate and manage risk. The firm has just issued a report that concludes that 28 of the roughly 175 Atlantic hurricanes that have hit the United States since 1900 would cause $10 billion or more in insured losses if they occurred today.
One goal was to estimate damages in 2012 dollars by weighing such factors as inflation, population growth, and different construction methods that have resulted in larger and more expensive buildings.
Using that methodology, Karen Clark & Co. determined that Hurricane Andrew, which ravaged Florida in 1992, was the most costly of recent hurricanes. The firm estimated if a hurricane of similar size hit Florida today, it would cause insured losses of about $50 billion. (The release of the study was pegged to Andrew’s 20th anniversary.)
Meanwhile, Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005, would cause insured losses of $40 billion if it occurred today, the firm said.
The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 topped the firm’s list with an estimated $125 billion loss. Nearly half of the hurricanes that caused $10 billion or more in damages made landfall in Florida.