The Week in a Minute, Jan. 27, 2012

  • In the next four years, 70% chance of magnitude 7 earthquake in Japan, Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Conning projects a 104 industry combined ratio for 2010 and an ROE around 5%. More 2012 projections here.
  • In a sort of earnings-season kickoff, Travelers’ net fell 31% from the year-ago quarter, hurt by lower investment income. Favorable development on prior-year losses is drying up, too. Even so, rates are higher, a circumstance analyzed again by actuary-cum-analyst Todd Bault.
  • Travelers won the latest round in a $420M reinsurance dispute dating back to 1948. Naturally, it involves asbestos.
  • Mississippi floods and widespread drought pushed crop insurance payments to a record $9.1B for 2011, the National Crop Insurance Services reported (pdf), with the tab pushing $10B by the time all accounts are settled. Previous record: $8.7B in 2008. In the past four years, crop insurance has paid claims exceeding $27B.
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