Although insurers escaped serious damage from catastrophes in the second quarter, according to a report released yesterday, a hurricane watch in Florida could bring unwelcomed news.

Insurers are expected to pay $920 million for second-quarter insured property losses from four catastrophes in 25 states–the lowest tally among second quarters in the past 10 years, the Property Claims Services Unit of Jersey City, N.J.-based ISO announced yesterday.

As of 11 a.m. today, the first Atlantic hurricane, Hurricane Dennis, was a strong Category 2 with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

With hurricane warnings already in effect for Jamaica, the southwest peninsula of Haiti, the Cayman Islands, and both central and eastern Cuba, the National Hurricane Center posted a hurricane watch (winds of 74 mph or greater are possible within the next 36 hours) for the Florida Keys and Florida Bay, and tropical storm warnings for Miami and the southern peninsula of Florida.

For insurers anxiously watching the meteorological reports, yesterday’s announcement of record-low second-quarter cat losses was welcome news. The $920 million total compared with insured losses of $2.3 billion in second-quarter 2004 and $5.1 billion in second-quarter 2003.

The property-casualty industry’s worst second quarter for catastrophe losses was $6.2 billion in 2001.

According to PCS, for the first half of this year insured property losses from catastrophes stand at $3.05 billion from 12 events in 37 states.

PCS estimates the second quarter’s four catastrophes generated nearly 311,400 claims, nearly half of which are from homeowners.

Severe weather, including high winds, hail, tornadoes and flooding, was responsible for all the insured damage in the quarter.

The costliest event for the quarter was a severe thunderstorm in early May that affected 14 states, causing $305 million in insured property damage.

At $315 million, Texas topped the list of the five most severely affected states, followed by Nebraska at $105 million, Kansas at $85 million, Oklahoma at $65 million and Colorado at $45 million.

ISO’s PCS unit defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property-casualty policyholders and insurers.

PCS estimates represent anticipated insured loss on an industrywide basis arising from catastrophes, reflecting the total insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, personal property, vehicles, boats, related property items, business interruption and additional living expenses. The estimates exclude loss adjustment expenses.