The property losses sustained this past year from 37 catastrophes — the highest frequency in a decade — will likely cost U.S. P&C insurers billions of dollars. Indeed, a preliminary analysis conducted by ISO's Property Claim Services Unit (PCS) predicts that P&C insurers will shell out $25.2 billion to homeowners and businesses for 2008 catastrophe losses. This figure represents the fourth highest cost in a decade.

PCS estimates that insurers paid 3.9 million claims for damages in 40 states resulting from 2008′s 37 catastrophes. More than 2.7 million personal lines claims accounted for 64 percent of the $25.2 billion loss, while 340,000 commercial lines claims accounted for 27 percent of the total loss. The remaining nine percent of total property losses were attributed to 876,000 vehicle losses.

The catastrophes in 2008 were the result of hurricanes, severe weather, winter storms, and tropical storms. Hurricanes caused the most significant loss, estimated at $13.3 billion in insured damage. Severe weather events — those producing damaging winds, large hail, tornadoes, and flooding — caused an estimated $10.5 billion in losses. Winter storms caused more than $1 billion in losses, while two tropical storms cost insurers $300 million.

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