Even though the 2012 tornado activity is already well above the year-to-date average for 2005-2011, Standard & Poor says the insurance and reinsurance industries should be able to sustain the losses, including the twisters that wreaked havoc on the Midwest.
“Insurance and reinsurance companies have barely caught their breath after sustaining more than $100 billion in catastrophe losses from 2011 global events, and they are already assessing this year’s damage from catastrophes,” says S&P in its March 15 Global Credit Portal.
However, the ratings agency adds that while the local impact from recent tornadoes is severe, the industry should be able to manage the losses. S&P also points out that the losses for the February-March outbreak are far less than the April-May outbreak in 2011 that saw $20 billion in insured losses from tornadoes and severe storms.
S&P notes that a “stark contrast” between the 2011 and 2012 outbreaks is that the 2012 tornadoes occurred in less densely populated locations with lower property values. The ratings agency says it does not expect the February-March tornadoes to trigger any of its rated catastrophe bonds and adds that the storms are likely to have a larger impact on regional carriers.