Lahaina wildfire insured property loss to be about $3.2 billion – KCC

Reuters | August 16, 2023

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(Reuters) – Insured property losses from the wildfire that ravaged the resort town of Lahaina in Hawaii last week are estimated to be about $3.2 billion, catastrophe modeling firm Karen Clark & Company (KCC) said on Wednesday.

The inferno killed at least 106 people after racing from grasslands outside town into Lahaina last Tuesday.

The fire charred a 5-square-mile (13-square-km) area of town in hours and has brought with it the logistical challenges of recovery, taking a toll on many of Lahaina’s 13,000 year-round residents, who are also facing the prospect of precious tourist dollars evaporating.

More than 2,200 structures fall within the fire perimeter, KCC estimated, citing an independent geospatial analysis of satellite and aerial imagery.

The majority of damaged structures were residential buildings, though many commercial buildings were affected as well, KCC said, adding that the disaster was the most destructive wildfire in Hawaii history.

The high proportion of wood frame and older construction present in the Lahaina buildings likely contributed to the damage, it said.

Insurance broker Aon last week said the extreme devastation to homes, businesses and other structures in Lahaina would likely drive economic and insured losses into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Moody’s Investors’ Service said on Tuesday that estimated insured losses from wildfires on Maui in Hawaii would be at least $1 billion.

The report said large insurers such as State Farm, Tokio Marine, Allstate have exposure in Hawaii, but added the companies are expected to readily absorb the losses as their business in Hawaii is a small fraction of their overall insured portfolios.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)


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