Canadian Underwriter

2007 cat claims likely US$6.5 billion for P&C insurers

January 31, 2008   by

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Property and casualty insurers in the United States are expected to pay US$6.5 billion to homeowners and business for property losses from 23 catastrophes in 2007, according to preliminary analysis by ISO’s property claim services (PCS) unit.

This is the eighth-lowest cost and the seventh-lowest frequency in a decade, the ISO reports in a release.

ISO estimates 1.18 million claims were paid for damage in 41 states, with more than 721,000 personal lines claims accounting for US$4.4 billion, while 144,000 commercial lines claims cost roughly US$1.3 billion and the 315,000 vehicle claims cost insurers roughly $800 million, ISO reports.

There were 17 severe weather events, five winter storms and one wildland fire, bringing the total catastrophes to 23.

Severe weather from Texas to Maine resulted in US$1.35 billion of insured damages, while the Witch Fire in San Diego County, California resulted in an estimated US$1.1 billion in losses, ISO went on to note.

“For the second year in a row, the United States dodged a devastating hurricane,” Gary Kerney, assistant vice president at PCS, said in the release. “With the exception of Humberto, which made landfall in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana in September, no other hurricane made landfall on U. S. territory in 2007.”

“However, catastrophes continue to occur and cause insured property damage that may not adversely affect the financial condition of most insurers, but do cause hardship to hundreds of thousands of policyholders.” •