Exante Storm Report: Hurricane Laura 2020
Hurricane Laura, the 12th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season made landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border in late August, 2020. The storm reached category 4, where 'catastrophic damage will occur' according to the Saffir-simpson scale. A total of 'close to $9bn' of insured property loss has been reported. (source)
While the storm made US landfall in an area of relatively low population density, the residents in western coastal regions of Louisiana were dramatically impacted, particularly in the city of Lake Charles. A full two weeks after the storm passed through, power had yet to be restored in many areas and a curfew remained in place. (source)
In Louisiana alone, the death toll stands at 27 with carbon monoxide poisoning (9 people), "heat related illness" (8 people) and falling trees (4 people, including a 14 year old girl) being the most common causes of death. (source) Internationally, the total death toll stands at 64. (wikipedia)
While Exante was not active in the state of Louisiana, we were able to use our trigger system to monitor the storm in real time and produce the timeline shown above. In this graphic, we show the maximum wind actually measured as the storm progressed over time in blue, alongside the maximum forecast wind at any point in orange.
Of note here is the sharp increase in intensity before landfall, followed by a steep decrease as the storm moves onshore, away from the sea. Air-sea temperature differences are one of the factors that determine a hurricane's strength.
The Exante trigger system would begin to pay out users as soon as the storm reaches a forecasted strength of category 3 or above, or 96 knots. As shown in the graph, Laura passed this threshold at 2pm local time on the the 25th of August - approximately 46 hours before landfall. In this scenario, Exante policy holders would have almost two full days to prepare and evacuate to safety.