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Sandy May Be the Fifth Biggest Hurricane in US History 

Photo by Adam Jeffery for CNBC.com

Sandy could be the fifth-biggest hurricane in US history in terms of insured losses, according to early industry estimates, Allstate EO Thomas Wilson told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Wednesday.

"There are two things that drive the damages — how big is it and how fast were the wind speeds," Wilson said.

"The storm was twice the size geographically of Katrina — that's the bad news," he noted. "The good news is the wind speeds were about two-thirds of Katrina. So there should be a lot less damage but it should be wider spread."

The early estimates have Hurricane Sandy costing up to $50 billion. With insured losses likely to pile up, the property-casualty insurance stocks took a hit on Wednesday.

But the Allstate executive said that while it's really too early to tell, based on the size of this storm, the impact on earnings will be "significant but not material."

"These types of events are in the normal volatility we and our shareholders expect," Wilson said.

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