The week in a minute: May 6


  • For Alabama, last week’s tornadoes are the worst disaster since Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
  • Bin Laden’s death had repurcussions for the insurance industry, as this National Underwriter roundup shows.
  • Earnings week – just about everyone with an international presence got hammered by Q1 cats, especially the quake/tsunami, where more than $10B has been announced or booked, excluding the Japanese companies. Domestics’ results were more sanguine. Highlights:
    • AIG earnings off 85%. Chartis lost more than $1.3B on the Japan quake alone, if you include its Japanese subsidiary, Fuji.
    • Berkshire posts $821M underwriting loss, thanks to $1.67B in cats.
    • Swiss Re lost $665M, with $2.33B in cats.
    • Hannover Re earnings fell 65%, with €436M (US$634) from the Pacific cats and another €54M (US$78M) from frost in Mexico.
    • Light cat losses helped Allstate boost earnings in Q1 (which doesn’t include last week’s tornado swarm).
    • Hartford net climbed 60%, including a gain from selling Specialty Risk Services LLC.
    • Travelers also got help from slow U.S. cat activity in Q1.
    • Liberty profits rose in Q1, but the company warned that tornadoes will hurt Q2.
  • Workers comp results deteriorated even more in 2010, with the combined ratio hitting 115, a result NCCI notes is unsustainable in the current low-interest-rate environment.
  • U.S. broker Holborn estimates Japan quake losses between $35B and $55B, suggesting the modelers have seriously undercooked contingent business interruption losses and demand surge. The brokerage also tries to create apples-to-apples comparisons of the three cat modelers’ work. Holborn’s report is here (pdf).


Remember the viral item is what’s hot this week, regardless of its bearing on insurance. This week, Team Obama watches the bin Laden raid:

The takedown


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