NEW YORK -- Hurricane Katrina could cost the insurance industry as much as $25 billion in claims, which would make it the costliest storm in US history, according to updated reports yesterday from risk assessment firms.
AIR Worldwide Corp., a risk modeling company in Boston, said its revised projections put insured losses in a range of $17 billion to $25 billion. On Monday, the company said its assessments suggested property and casualty losses of $12 billion to $26 billion.
A similar projection came from Risk Management Solutions of Newark, Calif., which projected insured losses from the hurricane of $10 billion to $25 billion.
That means Katrina could prove more costly than Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which caused $15.5 billion in insured losses.
Adjusted for inflation, Andrew's cost would amount to almost $21 billion today.
The figures do not cover property that is not insured, which could add billions to the total.
The Insurance Information Institute said that in Andrew's case, the uninsured losses may have approached $16 billion.
Other companies have put out lower estimates for the impact of Katrina on the insurance industry, and all emphasize that their information is preliminary because teams have been unable to get into hard-hit areas for inspections.
As loss estimates mounted, insurance companies sent teams of adjusters and claims processors to begin dealing with families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Thomas Farr of GuideOne Insurance Co. in West Des Moines, Iowa, said company teams were on the outer edges of the area and would work toward New Orleans. ''It's not safe there," Farr said. ''You can't get there, and authorities don't want you there. There's nothing we can do at this point."
GuideOne insures 4,000 churches in the region, and has written home and car policies.