Sandy's Impact on Insurance Companies Less Than Feared
Property and casualty firms should have the capacity to pay out the estimated claims from Sandy; we're leaving our fair value estimates unchanged.
With Hurricane Sandy making landfall and the worst of the storm seeming to have passed, it appears that the impact on insurance companies will be less than feared. Initial tallies from risk modelers such as Eqecat place the estimate for insured losses due to Sandy at somewhere between $5 billion and $10 billion. This figure is less than half of the estimate for total losses, which currently stands at around $20 billion, since most of the losses will be caused by flooding. Flood insurance is not covered under standard private insurance contracts but rather is administered by the U.S. government under the National Flood Insurance Program. These estimates are still preliminary and will undoubtedly be revised as the situation develops and claims begin to flow in, but based on current information, we do not expect to make changes to the fair value estimates for any of the insurers we cover in light of the storm.
While the losses will be material for many of the property and casualty companies we cover, the current year has been relatively benign for losses, and as a consequence, the industry has significant capacity to pay claims. Insurance is a volatile business, and paying claims for occasionally large losses is part of the natural course of business for these companies. Additionally, to the extent that the storm reduces capital from the industry, it could help harbor a more broad increase in prices. In the most recent quarters, many insurers have been noting mid- to upper-single-digit price increases, which may be indicative of the beginning of an improving pricing market. A large loss event may help drive a change in industry behavior, which could usher in a more widespread hardening market.
Drew Woodbury does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.
Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.
We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.
We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.
How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:
To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.
Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.
To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.
Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.