U.S. insured loss estimates for Hurricane Delta (US$ billions):
Wind & Surge
1.7 - 2.8
0.1 - 0.3
0.2 - 0.4
2.0 - 3.5
This estimate includes wind, storm surge, and inland flood losses across the impacted states, including Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi, based on analysis of RMS ensemble footprints in Version 18.1 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models and estimates from the RMS U.S. Inland Flood HD Model. RMS ensemble footprints are reconstructions of Delta’s hazards that capture the uncertainties surrounding observed winds and storm surge.
The RMS estimate includes a 15% reduction in insured onshore losses due to the cumulative impacts of Hurricane Laura, which damaged much of the same region six weeks earlier.
“The overlapping nature of Delta and Laura will create a complicated claims management and loss attribution process for the industry. Using an innovative combination of high-resolution aerial imagery and machine-learning techniques, the modeling teams at RMS assessed the competing impacts of Hurricane Laura on Hurricane Delta losses. We determined that more than half of the impacted postal codes were also impacted by Laura, representing more than 90% of loss in this event. While Delta caused higher than expected damage to many structures due to pre-existing damage from Laura, reduced overall exposure-at-risk in the overlapping region after Laura means losses attributed to Delta will end up being lower than if Laura had never happened,” said Jeff Waters, senior product manager, RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models.
Losses reflect property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, industrial, and automobile lines of business, along with post-event loss amplification (PLA) and non-modeled sources of loss. RMS expects most insured losses will be from residential lines.
The estimate also includes losses to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the range of US$200 million to US$400 million. NFIP losses were derived using the RMS view of NFIP exposure based on 2019 policy-in-force data published by FEMA, the Version 18.1 North Atlantic Hurricane Models, and the U.S. Inland Flood HD Model.
In Mexico, RMS estimates insured losses from Delta to be less than US$500 million. The estimate reflects wind losses based on analysis of RMS post-landfall stochastic event tracks in Version 18.1 of the RMS North Atlantic Hurricane Models. The estimate for Mexico includes property damage and business interruption to residential, commercial, and industrial lines of business.
Additionally, RMS estimates insured losses to offshore platforms, rigs, and pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico to not exceed US$1.0bn from wind and wave-driven damages. Offshore losses are based on the October 2020 vintage of the RMS Offshore Platform Industry Exposure Database.
“Unlike Laura, which impacted several deepwater oil and gas platforms earlier in the season, we expect offshore losses from Delta to be driven mainly by shallow water platforms. The storm shut in oil and gas production in the region up to levels not seen since Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. However, Delta’s lower intensity and size while in the Gulf limited the wave heights and consequently, offshore losses are expected to be notably lower than those experienced in the 2005 and 2008 events,” said Rajkiran Vojjala, Vice President, Model Development.
Delta made landfall near Creole, Louisiana on Friday, October 9, 2020 as a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. At landfall, Delta produced sustained winds of 100 mph (160 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center. Informed by a suite of real-time observational data sources, RMS HWind products estimated comparable winds at landfall. Delta's landfall location and intensity were well-represented by the HWind forecasting products more than 72 hours before the storm crossed into Louisiana.
“As expected, Delta weakened from major hurricane status to a weaker Category 2 storm just before landfall due to a combination of conditions, including high wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures, both of which restrain a hurricane’s intensity. However, winds strong enough to cause damage expanded in width, increasing the number of coastal properties at risk. Fortunately, Delta rapidly weakened after landfall, which reduced the material wind and water-driven impacts across interior portions of the Gulf states,” said Pete Dailey, Vice President, Model Development.
Hurricane Delta was the twenty-fifth named storm of the 2020 North Atlantic hurricane season, the ninth hurricane, and the fifth U.S. landfalling hurricane of this very active season. Delta was a record-breaking tenth named storm to make landfall in the contiguous U.S. so far in 2020, and a record-tying fourth named storm of 2020 to make landfall in Louisiana. Over six weeks remain in the Atlantic hurricane season, officially ending on November 30.
RMS industry loss estimates for landfalling U.S. hurricanes are comprehensive, reflecting modelled and non-modelled impacts from all major drivers of damage, including wind, storm surge, and inland flooding.