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2022 CAT Snapshot

More than half of 2022’s total US cat loss was from the single defining event of the year: Major Hurricane Ian.
2022 had 63 events, compared to the over 70 events seen in each of the past 2 years, but the cost was still above the 10-year average. More than half of 2022’s total cat loss was from the single defining event of the year: Major Hurricane Ian. Alongside Hurricane Ian, inflation and global political unrest continued to make headlines. Below we review some of the most significant events to impact the industry.


The Atlantic Hurricane season was predicted by multiple organizations to be an above-average season with a La Niña persisting over the tropical Pacific, warm ocean temperatures, and weak trade winds setting up a strong season. Despite perfect conditions for hurricane formation, the year’s activity fell in line with the historical average. There were 14 named storms, of which 8 were hurricanes and 2 major hurricanes. For the first time since 2014 there was no activity before the official start of hurricane season on June 1st. The first storm was not named until June 5th when remnants of Pacific Hurricane Agatha formed into Tropical Storm Alex. From July 3rd to September 1st there was a quiet period in the Atlantic. For only the 3rd time in history, August did not have any named storms.

Half-way through September, Major Hurricane Fiona hit Nova Scotia, Canada as a post-tropical cyclone with a pressure of 932mb, becoming the lowest recorded pressure since 1970 for that region. It could be one of the costliest hurricanes in Canada with wind speeds equivalent to a category 2.

When activity started to pick up in the Atlantic in late September, Major Hurricane Ian formed and brought devasting losses to Cuba and the US. Forming September 23 and making landfall in Cuba as a category 3 storm, it took out the power grid for the entire island. Moving through the Gulf Coast, Ian intensified over very warm waters and made landfall at Cayo Costa, Florida with 155mph winds, only 2mph short of being a category 5 hurricane. Ian made a third landfall in South Carolina as a category 1 storm. Losses from all other US cat events that occurred this year combined are less than the total loss reported from Hurricane Ian so far. More than half of 2022’s total US cat loss was from the single defining event of the year: Major Hurricane Ian. HURRICANE 2 2022 Cat Snapshot | January 2023 Similarly to hurricane season, the wildfire season had peak conditions but few events were seen. There was only one fire among the 2022 cat events: Hermits Peak fire in New Mexico. It was the most damaging fire on record for New Mexico, burning over 340,000 acres, but due to lower population density than some of the recent California fires, industry impacts were limited. Since 2014, this is the first year to only have one wildfire cat event. Even though 2022 was light on events despite conditions that were conducive to wildfires, it remains to be seen if 2022 represents a return to the “old normal”. WILDFIRE Ian highlighted issues around hurricane forecasting and rising sea levels. Only 36 hours prior to landfall Hurricane Ian was expected to hit Tampa, about 90 miles north of its landfall location. When the forecast track shifted south, the expected landfall also moved to be earlier, which meant that many residents of the Ft. Myers area were not given adequate time to properly prepare. Communicating uncertainty in hurricane forecasting has proven to be difficult, as the public needs to heed warnings but acknowledge forecasts are inherently uncertain. Official evacuation orders for Lee County were announced on Tuesday morning, about 30 hours before landfall, providing little time for the residents there to get out or prepare. This storm brought strong winds, but luckily for Florida the strongest winds were on the ocean side of the eyewall at landfall. The winds decayed some, but the damage was made worse by the immense flooding from storm surge, 15ft in some areas, and the 12 inches of rain Ian dropped in parts of Florida which took out entire homes and businesses.

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