Up to $1.5 Billion in Hurricane Damage

As Hurricane Dean made landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula today, the insurance industry estimated that the storm could cause up to $1.5 billion in damage.

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Risk Management Solutions, which deals in catastrophe risk management, said the hurricane is likely to lead to insurance claims of $750 million to $1.5 billion.

The estimate does not take into account losses from people who lack insurance.

The damage price tag could have been much higher had Dean not hit land in a sparsely populated area of the Mexican coast that had already been evacuated. If the hurricane track had been slightly different and the storm had directly hit the tourist cities of Cancun and Cozumel, the insurance losses would have been three times as high, RMS estimated.

"Dean has taken an extraordinarily fortunate track, slipping between St. Lucia and Martinique and striking a scarcely populated area of the Mexican coast," Claire Souch, senior director of model management at RMS, said in a statement.

"Given its [Dean's] intensity, the Caribbean and Winward Islands have faired relatively well," she said. "Though Jamaica has taken a large hit, the track for a Category 5 storm could hardly have been better planned to minimize the damage."