Canadian Underwriter

Additional insurers/reinsurers present WTC loss estimates

September 14, 2001   by Canadian Underwriter

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Further insurance loss estimates arising from the September 11 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon have been released by a number of leading insurers.
PartnerRe Ltd. believes that the combined property, casualty and aviation exposure to the company is likely to be in the range of US$350-400 million. The company describes the tragic occurrences which took place on September 11 as being the largest catastrophe event in the history of the insurance industry. PartnerRe chief financial officer Albert Benchimol notes, "information is still incomplete, but based on our marketshare and treaty exposures to this marketplace, we expect damage claims to be from property, casualty and aviation programs written by our operations in the U.S., Europe and Bermuda". Although the financial impact on the company will be "significant" for the current financial year, Benchimol points out that PartnerRe retains one of the strongest balance-sheets in the business.
Employers Reinsurance Corp. has placed its potential loss resulting from covers on the WTC and aviation at around US$600 million before tax. Odyssey Re Holdings Corp., a subsidiary of Fairfax Financial Holdings, issued a statement pegging its pretax loss estimate at US$80 million. "Considerable time will be required before more accurate estimates are available. While this event is significant, it will not have a material impact on Odyssey Re’s financial strength or position."
Specialty insurer Markel Corp. also issued a media statement suggesting that its pretax losses after reinsurance will be in the order of US$75 million. The Allstate Corporation expects claims will arise from auto, property, commercial and life insurance exposures. At this stage, the insurer does not have an accurate loss estimate, but, based on current knowledge, the September 11 tragedy should not prove to be a major financial event for the company, says chairman Edward Liddy. "We are prepared to do our job to the very best of our ability paying the automobile, property and life insurance claims of our policyholders in the hopes that at least some part of those affected lives will be cared for." State Farm Insurance says it has mobilized catastrophe response teams to deal with the WTC disaster. The insurer says claims representatives are waiting approval from the authorities to enter the city to assess the potential damage.

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