Sandy Damage Estimate Raised to as Much as $50 Billion

Superstorm Sandy caused as much as $50 billion in economic damage, with about $10 billion to $20 billion of insured losses, more than double previous estimates, said Eqecat Inc., a provider of catastrophic risk models.

Major failures of electric and utility systems, which caused business interruptions, spurred the company to increase its estimate for insured losses, it said today in a statement. Subway and tunnel outages also led to “higher expectations of loss amplifications,” the report said.

Eqecat, which has offices in Hackensack, New Jersey, and Oakland, California, had estimated damages of as much as $20 billion, including $5 billion to $10 billion of insured losses, in an Oct. 30 report.

The company later today will release additional details, including state-by-state damage calculations, Charlene Goodwin, an Eqecat vice president, said in an e-mail. Some of the analysis will be based on news footage of the Jersey Shore, Eqecat President Bill Keogh said in an interview yesterday.

“You can see in several neighborhoods, the first block has basically been destroyed by the storm surge,” Keogh said in a telephone interview from his vacation home in Litchfield, Connecticut, where he had taken refuge because power was off in the company’s Hackensack office. “Storm surge is extremely violent and water is a very heavy thing. You get 10-, 12-feet of storm surge, and it changes the shoreline really.”

Reis Inc. (REIS), a real estate research firm, gave a preliminary estimate of total damage of $30 billion to $40 billion from Sandy. In its Oct. 30 estimate, the New York-based company valued reconstruction efforts at $25 billion to $30 billion. That would result in a $10 billion to $15 billion economic loss, Reis said.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at johngitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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