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Irma will still be one of the 5 most costly hurricanes ever: JPMorgan

  • JPMorgan tells its clients Hurricane Irma's insured losses will still rank among the worst in history.
  • "We think Hurricane Irma could be a top 5 most costly hurricane in the U.S, although the losses could be in-line-to-lower than market expectations," the firm's analyst wrote.

Although there is a sense of relief in the markets on Monday as the damage caused by Hurricane Irma will likely not be as bad as feared, the storm will still rank among the costliest in history, according to one top Wall Street firm.

"We think Hurricane Irma could be a top 5 most costly hurricane in the U.S, although the losses could be in-line-to-lower than market expectations," JPMorgan analyst Sarah DeWitt wrote in a note to clients Monday.

DeWitt cited how risk modeling software company Air Worldwide estimated Hurricane Irma will cause insured losses in the range of $20 billion to $65 billion including the Caribbean with a $15 billion to $50 billion loss range for the U.S., before the storm landed in Florida.

"Our sense is losses could be at the lower end of the range as the storm weakened faster than expected," she wrote.

Air Worldwide updated its Hurricane Irma insured loss forecast for the U.S. to a range for $20 billion to $40 billion on Monday.

As result, DeWitt forecasts the combined losses for the insurance industry in the third quarter for hurricanes Irma and Harvey will be in the $35 billion to $80 billion range, which actually bodes well for the sector's share prices.

"Nonetheless, we think the sell-off in the stocks since Hurricane Harvey more than reflects potential losses and P&C insurance stocks are poised to resume solid performance as they benefit from rational insurance pricing, consistent earnings and book value growth, and reasonable valuations," she wrote.

Here are the top 10 costliest hurricanes in the U.S., according to the firm.