Hurricanes on the scale of Irene rarely pass the world by without causing some degree of damage – and this one was no different. The affects on people and places will of course be felt for many years to come, but the truth is the hurricane may have been significantly worse.

Several American states, parts of Canada and many islands in the Caribbean were badly affected, with flooding and strong winds resulting in a number of fatalities and substantial damage to property.

While Barack Obama’s describing of the hurricane as ‘historic’ might seem a little over the top now, it nevertheless ensured people on the eastern seaboard and in other affected states were fully motivated to evacuate their properties, thereby undoubtedly saving lives.

In the days following the storm, the cost is being counted by many thousands of people, many of who will be turning to their home and holiday home insurance providers to help them get back on their feet as quickly as possible. It highlights to property owners in the UK how important being adequately insured is, as although we do not suffer from hurricanes that often, flash flooding is becoming more common.

For now though, countries such as the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Canada may be feeling rather more fortunate than they thought they would – as it may have been substantially worse.