Insured losses from May Texas storms to exceed $1bn: Gallagher Re

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Following the deadly thunderstorms that hit Houston, Texas on May 16th, economic and insured losses are each anticipated to exceed $1 billion, with the potential for total losses to be even higher, according to Gallagher Re.

The storms, which killed at least seven people, are said to have generated exceptional wind damage to both residential and commercial properties, infrastructure, and vegetation.

At the time of the event, utility tracker said that almost one million customers were without power in Texas, with the vast majority of outages in Harris County, which contains Houston and is home to more than 4.7 million people.

Meanwhile, as per the National Weather Service, straight-line winds were estimated to have reached 100 mph, equivalent to those seen in a Category 1 hurricane.

Gallagher Re stated that this event showed the magnitude of damage non-tornadic thunderstorm winds can generate, particularly when they impact a densely populated and highly exposed area, such as the Houston metro.

The reinsurer also noted that this event is expected to become the second billion-dollar severe convective storm (SCS) insurance industry loss event in May, following the earlier outbreaks which impacted the central and eastern US.

Year-to-date, Gallagher Re observed that US SCS public and private insured losses are already nearing $17 billion, as of the first half of May, and remain on track to surpass the $20 billion threshold for the ninth consecutive year.

The firm added that annual US insured SCS losses in the last decade (2014-2023) have averaged $31 billion, much higher than the longer-term 21st Century average of $22 billion.

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