Insurers will only take a $700m hit at most from the economic damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan because the area is so poorly covered by insurance, according to risk modelling specialist AIR Worldwide.

AIR puts its lower estimate at $300m (£186m, $222m) from the catastrophe, which it says will have caused between $6.5bn and $14.5bn worth of destruction mostly across the Philippines where the worst of the tropical storm hit.

Philippines authorities put the death toll at around 4,000, though this is expected to rise further as the bodies of the missing are recovered. Many have lost everything, their homes and businesses swept away by raging winds and floods. As many as 650,000 people have been displaced.

"Super Typhoon Haiyan made landfall on the southern tip of Samar Island early morning local time on November 8 as one of the most powerful tropical cyclones in modern record-keeping," said Dr. Peter Sousounis, senior principal scientist, AIR Worldwide.

"The storm maintained impressive wind speeds as it traversed the Philippines before exiting over the cooler waters of the South China Sea, where it weakened as it headed northwest.

"The islands of Leyte, Samar, and northern Cebu are among the worst affected areas. Tacloban City, the capital and biggest city (population of 220,000) of Leyte province was particularly hard hit as storm surge depths as high as 4 meters destroyed every coastal home and left many inland neighbourhoods inundated with floodwaters."

Other estimates put the total economic damage at more than AIR Worldwide.

According to Kinetic Analysis Corp, the typhoon will swallow up a total of 5% of GDP output, worth between $12bn to $15bn, while German-based CEDIM Forensic Disaster Analysis places total economic losses will reach between $8bn and $19bn.

The World Bank says the annual typhoon season cuts the Philippines' GDP growth by an average of 0.8 percentage points each year.

Tacloban State of Emergency

A state of emergency was declared in Tacloban, the capital of the central Philippine province of Leyte, following widespread looting by desperate survivors affected by Typhoon Haiyan

The federal government imposed a curfew between 10:00 and 18:00 local time. The declaration of emergency follows reports of widespread looting in the devastated areas.

Some survivors are reportedly roaming the streets with guns to attack convoys carrying aid. Hundreds of troops and police personnel have been deployed in Tacloban to quell the looting.

"Tacloban is totally destroyed. Some people are losing their minds from hunger or from losing their families," school teacher Andrew Pomeda told AFP.

"People are becoming violent. They are looting business establishments, the malls, just to find food, rice and milk.... I am afraid that in one week, people will be killing from hunger."