Yet only $700m insured losses expected

Haiyan path

Typhoon Haiyan has caused between $6.5bn and $14.5bn of residential, commercial and agricultural property damage in the Philippines, according to catastrophe modelling firm AIR Worldwide.

However, insured losses will range between $300m and $700m owing to low insurance penetration in the region, AIR said.

AIR Worldwide senior principal scientist Peter Sousounis said: “Super typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the southern tip of Samar Island early morning local time on 8 November as one of the most powerful tropical cyclones in modern record-keeping.

“The storm maintained impressive wind speeds as it traversed the Philippines before exiting over the cooler waters of the South China Sea, where it weakened as it headed northwest.”

The storm created a humanitarian disaster in the Philippines as it swept away small villages, left more than 2,000 people dead, and displaced more than 650,000 people.

Sousounis added: “The islands of Leyte, Samar, and northern Cebu are among the worst affected areas. Tacloban City, the capital and biggest city of Leyte province was particularly hard hit, as storm surge depths as high as four metres destroyed every coastal home and left many inland neighborhoods inundated with floodwaters.”

Many inland residential and commercial buildings were also destroyed, and the tiny peninsula where the Tacloban airport was once located was leveled, leaving only the runway. Nearly every tree in the city was either flattened or snapped in half. These fallen trees and other debris have blocked roads both in and around the city.

Guiuan, a municipality located very close to where the typhoon made landfall, was also left in ruins.

In a statement, AIR said that it was hard to give an accurate insured loss figure, as the force of the storm destroyed all the weather recording devices before AIR could retrieve data from them.

Instead, the catastrophe modelling firm used information from the Japan Meteorological Agency to model the effects of Haiyan on the region.