With debris and floods covering much of the Bahamas as a result of Hurricane Dorian, and with the Abacos and Grand Bahama suffering one of the worst hurricanes in history, the major impact for the marine sector is likely to fall on smaller craft.
While larger vessels have the capability of heading offshore to avoid the storm, many smaller vessels have no choice but to remain open to the elements. Once again therefore the yacht sector looks set to bear the brunt of insured losses.
A number of insurers had already pulled out of yacht insurance, considering the pricing available as incommensurate with the risk. The Atlantic Hurricanes of 2017 and 2018 served to reinforce that view.
The result of that was a considerable hardening of yacht sector insurance pricing in 2019, with rate increases of 30% being mentioned, and double-digit increases being the norm. The events in the Bahamas will reinforce this hardening, and with the future track of Dorian remaining uncertain, further losses in this sector cannot be ruled out.
Forecasters said Dorian would come dangerously close to Florida’s east coast on Wednesday, where more than a million people have been ordered evacuated. Tornadoes were possible overnight on the Florida coast.
Georgia and the Carolinas were next in line, with a chance that Virginia could feel some impact.
Referring to the port on Great Abaco, Bahamas prime minister Hubert Minnis told a news conference that “Marsh Harbor has suffered, I would estimate, in excess of 60% damage to their homes”.
Aerial video of the Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island revealed miles of flooded neighbourhoods, pulverized buildings, upturned boats and scattered shipping containers.