The six-month 2019 North American hurricane season is officially in the books, and it was an active one in terms of named storm counts, with the majority of activity coming in the typical mid-August and mid-October periods. The season ended with 18 named storms, six of which became hurricanes, and three of those achieving major hurricane status (Category 3+ on the Saffir-Simpson scale). Having 18 named storms in a season is well above the 12.1 average (1981 – 2010), but the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes is right around what would be expected in an average year. In terms of ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy), the season ended up at 123% of the average, with two storms, Dorian and Lorenzo, contributing an impressive 61% to the tally.
Preliminary Atlantic Tropical System Track Map Source: NHC.
*After spiking this summer, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) index dipped back to near average in November, according to the Klotzbach and Gray AMO index, as far north Atlantic sea surface temperatures are currently near their long-term average values. This could have explained the higher activity this season and could lead to lower counts next season if sea surface temperatures continue to drop.
After spiking this summer, the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) index dipped back to near average in November.
Hurricane season begins June 1. Experts are calling for a more active season this year, with the Weather Company forecasting 14 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes, above the 30-year average.
Certainly the population growth and expansion of industries, particularly in the developing world, will ensure that losses from hurricanes will continue to increase. While hurricanes cannot be prevented, losses can be greatly minimized by adequate preparation before the hurricane arrives, including the development and implementation of a comprehensive written hurricane emergency plan.
Here are some tips to help businesses minimize damage and get back to work quickly after a hurricane or significant windstorm:
The key to minimizing damage is adequate preparation before the hurricane arrives.
Assign emergency organization roles and responsibilities
Provide annual training
Assemble emergency supplies and equipment in a safe location such as plastic tarps, mops, squeegees, emergency lighting, battery-operated radio, tape for windows, lumber and nails, etc.
Plan for salvage and recovery, including maintaining a list of key vendors, contractors and salvage services
Anchor large equipment, such as cranes and draglines, in accordance with manufacturers’ guidelines
Fill fuel tanks of generators, fire pumps, company-owned vehicles, etc.
Keep emergency response team personnel at the facility, if safe to do so, and have them prepared to respond
Continue to monitor weather reports for information on potential storm damage, access to property, utility outage, etc.
Update management and maintenance accordingly
Patrol the property continuously and watch for roof leaks, pipe breakage, fire or structural damage
Constantly monitor any processes, equipment, boilers, furnaces, etc., that must remain online during hurricane
During power failure, turn off electrical switches to prevent reactivation before necessary checks are completed
Secure the site to prevent unauthorized entry
Organize and prepare emergency crews for salvage and cleaning operations
If safe to so, conduct an immediate damage assessment, paying particular attention to structural damage, utilities, roof coverings, production and process equipment, fire protection equipment and areas subject to flooding
Notify utility companies of any outages or damages
Call key personnel and notify contractors to begin major repairs
Initiate salvage operations
Review the effectiveness of the hurricane emergency plane and revise as needed.
Damage can be prevented or greatly reduced with proper planning in all stages of hurricane preparation. As we enter the 2019 hurricane season, these steps can help minimize overall damage because there is great preparation before and after; the steps also efficiently help rebuild businesses after the damage.
June 1 opened the North Atlantic hurricane season, with this year marking the 10th anniversary of one of the costliest storms to make landfall in the U.S. — Hurricane Katrina. Each year, hurricane season puts catastrophe (CAT) models to the test, with potentially millions of dollars riding on their accuracy. The loss estimates calculated by CAT models can play an important role in protecting your organization from financial loss.
New Storms Change CAT Models
CAT models use algorithms to estimate potential losses stemming from a catastrophic event. Over the 10 years since Katrina, CAT modeling has become more complex because of technology improvements and the greater availability of data. After a significant storm, the models are updated based on the new data and a larger body of knowledge. These changes could considerably affect your property insurance and risk management strategies.
Here are some CAT modeling factors — which for U.S. hurricane exposures have changed several times in the last few years. You should consider the items below as you prepare for this year’s hurricane season:
Check your policy, including deductibles, coverage limits and sublimits, to ensure they’re adequate and realistic; check that exclusions are acceptable.
Ensure the quality of your CAT modeling data. Incomplete data causes more uncertainty for insurers; improving the data enables more accurate loss estimates and reduces the uncertainty for the underwriters.
Take a big picture view of your CAT exposures. By modeling your worldwide portfolio, you can identify regional drivers, which can help put U.S. hurricane risks in perspective. Also, using actuarial resources after a CAT or non-CAT claim can help evaluate your organization’s total cost of risk (TCOR), which can better inform how you use your risk management resources.
If you have locations in CAT-prone areas, you can fine-tune their CAT loss estimates with an understanding of how they’ve changed with each model update. Aligning your risk data with CAT modeling changes can yield better outputs for insurers to underwrite your risks.
To register for a webinar on June 17, 2015, on the lessons from Hurricane Katrina, click here.