Gallery: PICS: Property Damage From Irene Could Hit $7 Billion

image © Leonel Lima Ponce for Inhabitat
According to the Mayor's Office, nearly 2,000 trees were downed, split, or uprooted during Tropical Storm Irene.

Increased numbers of natural disasters (you can thank climate change for that) over the last year have already strained the insurance industry. According to the New York Times:

The A. M. Best Company, which rates the financial strength of insurers, called the level of natural disasters this year “unprecedented” in a report on the American insurance industry issued last week. The company, based in New Jersey, said disaster-related losses this year had already exceeded the total for all of 2010. It estimated the losses at $27 billion through June 30, compared with $11.9 billion in the first six months of last year and $19.6 billion for all of 2010. The company based its findings on a survey of roughly 150 insurers, which it said accounted for 80 percent of the industry.

Like we said before, make sure to take photos of any damage sustained to your property. State officials are urging people to do so in order to properly make insurance claims. Your first reaction may be to try to fix the damage, but take a photo first to document exactly what happened. You should also not attempt any permanent repairs until your insurance company can examine the situation. If you haven’t already done so, you need to contact your insurer, as many companies have deadlines for filing after disasters.

As of 8 a.m. this morning, some 44,000 Con Ed customers were still without power across the five boroughs. There were several deaths by fast and furious rising waters, and the Fire Department rescued 63 people from flooded homes. Several ocean front homes in Coney Island and the Rockaways were severely damaged, with one summer home in Broad Channel completely collapsing into the ocean. Thankfully no one was inside, and no one was hurt.

New Jersey was hit a bit harder than NYC, with winds reach 75mph and the highest rainfall being recorded at 10.2 inches. This morning, 712,000 customers were still without power, and heavy flooding and extensive amounts of debris are hampering repairs, meaning that customers could be without power for several days. Long Island and Connecticut also had significant damage, with flooding and numerous downed trees and power lines. More than half a dozen homes are reported to have severe property damage, and two beach front homes in Connecticut collapsed.

If you live in New York and have any questions about filing your claims, you can call the state’s Financial Services department from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 800-339-1759.

Via The New York Times, NBC New York, and The Wall Street Journal

Lead image © Kevin D’Angelo

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