Hurricane Beryl makes Texas landfall as Cat 1, reinsurance impact likely limited

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After hammering Caribbean islands last week and battering Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Hurricane Beryl strengthened again to a Category 1 storm and recently made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, although the impact to reinsurers is expected to be minimal.

hurricane-berylAt one stage, Hurricane Beryl became the earliest Category 5 storm ever recorded, and after hitting St Vincent and the Grenadines, Mayreau and Union, and Grenada particularly hard, it was one of the most powerful storms to ever hit Jamaica as a Category 4.

The storm then brought heavy rain to the tourist hotspots of Cancún and Tulum in southern Mexico as a Category 2 storm, before moving into the southern Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Since then, the storm has regained strength, and according to the latest update from the National Hurricane Centre (NHC), the centre of Beryl has made landfall near Matagorda, Texas, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, with dangerous storm surge and strong winds occurring with flash flooding expected.

“At 400 AM CDT (0900 UTC), the center of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 28.6 North, longitude 96.0 West. Beryl is moving toward the north near 12 mph (19 km/h). A turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected tonight and Tuesday. On the forecast track, the center of Beryl will move over eastern Texas today, then move through the Lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday and Wednesday,” says the latest update from the NHC.

According to the NHC, steady to rapid weakening is expected as the center moves inland, and Beryl is expected to weaken to a tropical storm later today and to a tropical depression on Tuesday.

In a blog post yesterday, Andrew Siffert, reinsurance broker BMS Re’s Senior Meteorologist, said that, following a review of some of the catastrophe risk modeling stochastic tracks BMS has selected, “it would appear that overall insured loss will likely be sub $500M if Beryl makes landfall in the expected rural areas between Freeport, Texas, and Rockport, Texas, as a category 1 hurricane.”

“This means the event will likely be a retained event for most insurance carriers and have little to no impact on the reinsurance industry,” he added.

Recently, CoreLogic estimated that total insurable losses from Beryl across Jamaica and the Cayman Islands will be between $400 million and $700 million, and estimated insurable losses in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are expected to be less than $1 billion.

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