Insurers count the cost of Hurricane Harvey
I’m sure that all of us followed in the media the incredible chaos and destruction wreaked by Hurricane Harvey recently - that’s to say all of us who weren’t too busy trying to save lives and property in Texas and neighbouring states. When mother nature is at her angriest, the consequences are both catastrophic and heart-rending. Our thoughts, I’m sure, were with those many thousands of people who, if they survived, saw years of hard work and investment in their homes and businesses simply washed or blown away.
Whilst trolling through the many media reports of the disaster, my eyes were drawn to an article which told of the incredible number of vehicles damaged or written off by Harvey. One estimate put the total at more than half a million and rising. Indeed, in one district of Houston, a 400 acre drag-racing facility was closed to the sport in order to serve as a temporary holding, storage and processing point for 30,000 such vehicles while insurance adjusters assess the damage and process claims. Following their inspections, the vehicles may be returned to their owners, sold online or demolished.
The raceway will be closed to drag-racing until the end of February, such is the scale of the undertaking. Now, no-one surely can equate the damage to cars and trucks with the loss of lives and property but it does amount to a staggering bill for the insurance companies. As of early last week, insurance companies had received at least 100,000 claims for vehicles damaged by Harvey, with three-quarters of those for cars which have had to be written off. Needless to say, the number of claims is expected to rise.
All of this has helped to make Harvey the most costly hurricane ever to hit the United States. There is, however, a silver lining for some people, namely the car manufacturers and dealers. Apparently, Houston is the most vehicle-dependent city in the US, with over 94% of households owning a car. It is hard to see those people whose cars have been destroyed by Harvey opting to renounce motoring. That means an awful lot of unexpected sales for US OEMs and Texan car dealers. Truly, it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow someone some good.
Simon Duval Smith
Global News Editor:
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