Three Bermuda insurance concerns gave figures that could put their Hurricane Katrina losses above a half-a-billion dollars as rating firms put Allstate, State Farm and other insurers and reinsurers on rating watch for a possible storm-related downgrade.
Fitch Ratings==in addition to Allstate and State Farm==put a Rating Watch Negative on Horace Mann Educators Corp., Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd., and PXRE Group Ltd., based on “potential large loss exposures to Hurricane Katrina.”
Allstate and State Farm were also put on watch by Standard & Poor’s, along with ACE, Allmerica, Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd., Oil Casualty Insurance Ltd., Swiss Re and United Fire & Casualty Co.
Montpelier Re and PXRE, both smaller Bermuda reinsurers, were also placed on watch by Moody’s Investors Service, which said that in addition, it has a watch on the financial strength of Oil Insurance Ltd. of Bermuda and a capital facility sponsored by Oil==Catalyst Capital Ltd.
Fitch said it has reviewed the preliminary loss estimates for the major global reinsurers, and does not believe the exposure of equity capital to Katrina-related losses for any of these entities would warrant a Rating Watch.
Fitch noted the modeling firm Risk Management Solutions estimated that insured losses are $40-to-$60 billion, and said the firms it has on watch appear to have an exposure that likely represents a material percentage of their equity base.
Everest Re Group said its losses could amount to 1 percent of the total insurance industry losses, or from as much as $600 million to as little as $220 million based on insurance industry loss modelers’ estimates of $22 billion to $60 billion.
XL Capital said their Katrina net loss could hit 1.75 percent, or $385 million to $1.05 billion, while ACE Ltd. put its loss range at $450 million to $550 million.
XL said loss adjustment for what it believes could be the industry’s most costly catastrophe will be protracted, and its estimate is subject to revision. The company said its other third-quarter catastrophes, including European floods, will be about $80 million.
XL still expects a profit for the year, and “expects no fundamental change in our risk appetite,” announced XL Chief Executive Officer Brian M. O’Hara.
Like XL, ACE said it would not know losses with certainty for some time to come, “due to the size and complexity of the storm and flooding…”
Everest Re Group said its 1 percent estimate was based on modeling, underwriter analysis, discussions with clients and an early profile of exposed limits in the Gulf Coast area.
Joseph V. Taranto, Everest Re’s CEO, said that while the impact is significant, “it is within our risk management tolerance and does not change our positioning or underlying fundamental financial strength.”
Moody’s said it placed the rating of PXRE Capital Trust under review prompted by the company’s announcement of its net loss from Hurricane Katrina at approximately $235 million. Moody’s noted PXRE’s statement that it expects to report a net loss of $85-to-$100 million for 2005, assuming no additional material catastrophes occur this year.
The review, the firm said, will also consider the degree of uncertainty surrounding current loss estimates given the unusual characteristics of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the prospect for various disputes==including the extent to which retrocessional coverage will respond.
Moody’s said Montpelier Re Ltd. and Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. were put under review after the company’s estimated impact of Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans flood losses in the range of $450-to-$675 million.
The rating action on Oil, Moody’s said, stemmed from its potential to incur significant losses from Hurricane Katrina due to the company’s exposure to oil, gas and energy-related property damage claims of its members in the Gulf of Mexico and along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Oil’s maximum exposure to losses from Hurricane Katrina is capped at $1 billion due to the company’s aggregate limit for losses arising from one event, said Moody’s. However, the rating agency noted that such losses will further weaken Oil’s $1.8 billion capitalization, which sustained a net loss of $548 million during 2004 due to losses arising from Hurricane Ivan, an oil platform explosion in the Mediterranean Sea, and potential pollution claims.