According to a recent Reuters article, Cyclone Yasi is expected to cost insurers approximately AUS $3.5 billion in insured damage, according to Forecasting Service Tropical Storm Risk ("TSR"). Cyclone Yasi, a maximum strength category five storm about the size of Italy, has drawn much comparison with Hurricane Katrina, which caused massive damage to New Orleans and surrounding states in 2005. (Some estimate that the insured losses alone caused by Hurricane Katrina reached US $66 billion.)
According to the Reuters article, Yasi made landfall near to Mission Beach in northeast Queensland on February 2nd with peak 3-sec gusts of about 170 mph. Cyclone Yasi reached a CHI* value of 11.72 by landfall, according to Reuters. By comparison, Hurricane Katrina had a CHI value of 22.4 when it made landfall in the Gulf of Mexico.
"Yasi is the most powerful cyclone to strike the east coast of Australia since 1918," according to TSR forecasters quoted by Reuters. On a brighter note, Reuter notes that many "Australians voiced relief and surprise after one of the world's most powerful cyclones spared the nations northeast coast from the expected devastation - which missed the heavily populated areas."
*As explained in the Reuters article: "CHI is a more accurate measure of the destructive power of a storm than the Saffir Simpson scale since it takes into account both size and windspeed. CHI at landfall is also used as the reference for a family of Hurricane Options traded on the CME, which can be used to hedge against hurricane exposure."