The combined economic cost of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is expected to hit $290 billion and cause the most destructive and costly season of storms since record keeping began, according to AccuWeather.
The monster storms mark the first time that two Category 4 or higher hurricanes have struck the U.S. mainland in the same year. Still unknown is the ultimate track of Hurricane Jose, a Category 1 storm 700 miles east of Florida around midday Tuesday, Sept. 12, with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour.
Fears that Jose could hit the United States to cause a triple-whammy of hurricane damage to the mainland and possibly the Bahamas remain, especially if it gains strength and loops westward by this weekend. So far, most computer models show Hurricane Jose remaining at sea and not moving onshore.
The much-feared direct hit to Miami failed to materialize once Hurricane Irma took a westward turn and moved up the less populous west coast of Florida. Hurricane damage forecasters have raised concerns for decades about the potential devastation to lives and property if a Category 5 hurricane, such as Irma, struck Florida’s largest city with its full force.
Reinsurers that carry a significantly higher share of the risk in Florida than most other states due to its propensity to sustain storm damage actually rose in share price after Hurricane Irma caused less destruction than initially feared by forecasters. The share prices of big reinsurers such as Swiss Re (SREN: VX) and Munich Re (BIT: MUV2), the largest reinsurer in the world, rose, as did the shares of Florida’s largest residential property and casualty insurer, Universal Insurance Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UVE).
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Paul Dykewicz is the editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications, editor of StockInvestor.com and DividendInvestor, a columnist for Townhall and Townhall Finance, a commentator and the author of an inspirational book, “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” with a Foreword by legendary football coach Lou Holtz. Visit Paul’s website at www.holysmokesbook.com and follow him on Twitter @PaulDykewicz.