U.S. catastrophe losses for the third quarter 2003 have risen a whopping 300% over the same period last year, says the Property Claim Services (PCS) unit of the Insurance Services Office (ISO). In the three-month period, cat losses hit US$2.9 billion, versus US$715 million for third-quarter 2003. Since 1994, there have been only two third-quarters with higher cat losses, the worst being 2001 due to September 11 losses, and the other in 1998 when Hurricane Georges alone cost insurers US$2 billion. For the first nine months of this year, cat losses are US$9.4 billion, more than double last year’s total of US$4.1 billion at the same point. Storms were largely to blame for the third-quarter losses, including Hurricanes Claudette and Isabel, with four wind/thunderstorms and the August blackout in Northeastern U.S. making a total of seven cats for the quarter. Overall, more than 886,000 claims will be made in 30 states as a result of cats in the quarter, PCS says. Hurricane Isabel was the most costly event at US$1.17 billion, followed by late July storms that caused US$815 million in insured damage. About US$75 million in damage is attributed to the August blackout, although PCS notes that this number is still preliminary with no cause for the power outage having been determined. Of the states suffering losses during the quarter, Virginia topped the list at US$460 million, largely from Isabel. Maryland and Tennessee each suffered US$410 million in insured losses.