Hurricane Maria could test financial strength of Caribbean property market

Caribbean islands already left in ruins by Hurricane Irma sustained more destruction from Hurricane Maria this week.

After tearing through Dominica on Tuesday as a category 5 storm, and triggering widespread flooding in Guadeloupe, Hurricane Maria went on to make landfall in Puerto Rico yesterday as a category 4 storm, leaving the country wholly without power.

According to AIR Worldwide, this is Puerto Rico’s first direct landfall from a cat 4 storm in 85 years. The country experienced 12-18 inches of rain, with isolated instances of up to 25 inches. With maximum sustained winds of 155mph, the storm ripped roofs and launched debris left by Irma just two weeks ago.

Ratings agency AM Best predicted that Maria may be the barometer for testing the financial strength of insurers servicing Caribbean property, many of whom are still feeling the impact of not only Irma but also 2016’s Matthew.

An AM Best representative said: “A strike by Maria could severely test the financial strength of some of the insurers with concentrations of property risk in the Caribbean. It will certainly further pressure the Caribbean insurers over both the near and longer terms, for several reasons.”