Hurricane Irma's insured damage in Florida could be the "largest ever" in the United States, possibly meeting or exceeding the $50 billion in insured damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Barclays analysts said in a note on Tuesday, Sept. 5.
Barclays said catastrophe modelers have estimated insured damage could be on par with the 1926 Miami Hurricane that would mean up to $130 billion in damages "in a worst case scenario."
Hurricane Irma coming right on the heels of devastating Hurricane Harvey could "possibly halt further reinsurance price declines for the first time in many years," Barclays wrote. Insurers' earnings and book values could take a huge hit as a result.
Reinsurers expected to have the most exposure to a Florida hurricane include Everest Re Group Ltd. (RE) - Get Report , XL Group Ltd. (XL) , Validus Holdings Ltd. (VR) , RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. (RNR) - Get Report and Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. (AHL) . American International Group Inc. (AIG) - Get Report will have the largest exposure among primary commercial insurers.
Shares of Everest Re declined 6.9% on Tuesday to $231.19, while XL Group tumbled 5.8% to $38.27. AIG fell 1.7% in trading on Tuesday.
Hurricane Irma is an "extremely dangerous" category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds already topping 180 mph. The storm is predicted to make landfall in Florida late this weekend after hitting the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. The National Weather Service said pre-storm preparations should be "rushed to completion" as islands throughout the Caribbean and all of Florida are now under a state of emergency.
Updated from Tuesday, Sept. 5.
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