Catastrophe Losses Estimated at $1 Billion
U.S. insurers’ first-quarter catastrophe losses jumped to about $1 billion from $860 million a year ago, the industry estimated, citing a Northeastern ice storm and a slew of tornadoes in the Midwest. The estimate is from a survey of property and casualty insurers by the Property Claims Services division of Insurance Services Office Inc. The group tracks losses for storms and other catastrophes causing damage of at least $25 million. Of the quarter’s 10 catastrophes, the two most costly, at $200 million each, were the ice storm, in January, and an outbreak of tornadoes late last month, ISO said. For publicly traded insurers such as Allstate Corp., the losses probably will not be enough to mar a growth in first-quarter profits from a year ago, analysts said. The actual losses could be higher than the estimate because there are often delays in filing claims. Last year’s total exceeded by 27% the initial ISO estimate of $675 million.