Hurricane Irene Leaves Billions of Dollars in Damage

Over the weekend, Hurricane Irene left an estimated $7 billion to $13 billion of damage across 10 East Coast states, and that’s not accounting for economic losses from closed businesses, canceled events, and airport shutdowns.

Hot Feature: Hurricane Irene is Set to Storm Insurance Company Stocks.

Downed trees and other wind damage could alone account for $5 billion in personal claims, while flood damage could account for another $2 billion, according to a statement released by the Consumer Federation of America, which also said that, “Because so many consumers experienced claims problems in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we urge homeowners dealing with losses caused by Hurricane Irene to be vigilant with their insurance companies to ensure that that they receive a full and fair settlement.”

In the weeks following the storm, University of Maryland professor Peter Morici says damage and economic losses could reach $20 billion, while Maryland-based Kinetic Analysis Corp. estimates a substantially lower $13 billion. Morici also said that economic losses from closed businesses and transportation could increase that number by another $20 billion in the next week to 10 days.

Over 11,000 flights have been canceled, though some airports began to re-open Sunday and most will do so today, and train services along the coast have been suspended indefinitely. Over 3 million people are still without power, with North Carolina and Virginia reporting the most outages.

Stocks to Watch: ACE Ltd. (NYSE:ACE), XL Group (NYSE:XL), PartnerRe (NYSE:PRE) Everest Re (NYSE:RE), Travelers Cos. (NYSE:TRV), Chubb Corp. (NYSE:CB), American Financial Group (NYSE:AFG), American International Group (NYSE:AIG), The Allstate Corp. (NYSE:ALL).