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Tickers in this Article: XL, CB, AON, VR
Recently, XL Group plc (XL) provided its estimates for a loss from catastrophes for the second quarter. According to the company, pretax loss from catastrophes in the second quarter of 2013, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, will likely be approximately $135 million.

The Insurance segment of XL Group will incur almost 55% of the estimated loss, while Reinsurance will incur the remaining 45%. Losses from floods in Europe, Argentina and Canada and tornadoes and hailstorms in the United States accounted for the preliminary loss estimate. Of these events, floods in Europe comprised nearly 50% of the estimated loss.

Bermuda-based insurer, Validus Holdings Ltd (VR) expects to record a catastrophe loss of $69.6 million in the second quarter of 2013, resulting from heavy floods in Central Europe. Another insurer, The Chubb Corporation (CB) expects after-tax cat loss to be $156 million or 60 cents per share in the second quarter. Chubb’s pre-tax cat loss estimate of $240 million includes $175 million from catastrophes in the United States, largely stemming from severe storms in central U.S. and $65 million from storms and floods in southern Alberta, Canada.

According to Impact Forecasting, industry loss from the European flooding is estimated to approximate $5.3 billion. It also projected combined economic losses to be as much as $22 billion. In addition, reinsurer Munich Re projected that the industry would incur $3.9 billion in insured losses due to the European flooding.

While Impact Forecasting projected total economic losses from flooding in Canada to be approximately $3.8 billion, preliminary insured loss is expected to be $1.0 billion. Impact Forecasting is the catastrophe model development center of excellence at Aon Benfield. Aon Benfield in turn is the global reinsurance intermediary and capital advisor of Aon plc (AON).

In the last reported quarter, XL Group’s earnings per share breezed past the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 38.8% and surged 78.8% year over year. The outperformance was fueled by improved underwriting results attributable to lower levels of catastrophe and large risk losses, along with higher affiliate earnings. Prudent underwriting practices helped XL Group to narrow underwriting loss and improve the combined ratio.

However, the second quarter will likely face the brunt of catastrophes, which would weigh on its underwriting results as well as the bottom line. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter is pegged at 77 cents.

XL Group carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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