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Insured US storm losses range from US$7-15 bil.: experts

WASHINGTON -- Insured losses from the massive Superstorm Sandy that battered the U.S. East Coast could run between US$7 billion and US$15 billion, catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide said Tuesday.

AIR said the damages were akin to much more intense hurricanes, because of the gigantic size of Sandy and its collision with another huge front sweeping in from the west, wreaking havoc over a much broader area than other megastorms.

AIR's estimates included wind and storm surge damage to onshore residential, commercial and industrial properties and their contents, automobiles and insured losses related to things like business interruption for companies forced to shut down.

Sandy, rated only a category-one hurricane, was nearly twice the size of the devastating Category 3 Hurricane Katrina of 2005, AIR said.

AIR said tropical-force winds from Sandy affected an area spanning 950 miles (1,530 kilometers), and hurricane force winds extending 175 miles from its center, much more than other extremely damaging hurricanes.

“Sandy's diameter made it the largest Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of the span of tropical storm-force winds,” the company said.

“The storm affected areas as far north as Toronto and west to the Great Lakes.”

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