Hurricane Matthew could end up being a disaster well into the nine figures in the U.S.
As the storm, which has already been linked to more than 100 deaths in Haiti, bears down on the coast of Miami, the primary concern for elected officials and everyone else on the southeastern coast of the United States is protecting human life.
But a secondary concern—and one that will be on people’s minds in the coming days—is the likely very costly property damage that will ensue as the storm makes landfall. Analysts at CoreLogic, the global property information and analytics firm, has put together estimates of “number of properties at risk of storm surge damage for each of the five hurricane categories as well as the accompanying reconstruction cost value for these properties.”
The estimate: As much as $326 billion dollars.
That would certainly make Matthew a mega-storm. It’s highly unlikely, though, that damage would reach that level. First of all, this would require Matthew to remain a category four hurricane as it barreled through 4 states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Matthew does look likely to make landfall as a category four, but it is likely that only one of these states faces the maximum damages, and that the hurricane loses strength as it passes through others. The worst hurricane, in terms of damage in the U.S.—Katrina—which decimated New Orleans, topped out at just over $50 billion in damage.
Still, if Matthew ends up to doing anywhere nears as much damage as some these storms, the economic impact could be felt in financial markets as well as in the economies of a number of Southeastern states. Insurance industry analysts have recently been assessing whether climate change, and the impact it has on the insurance industry could cause the next financial crisis.