Severe winter weather is causing large losses for property/casualty insurance companies in early 2014, however there should be no rating impact as a result, according to Fitch Ratings.
The severe winter weather from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21 has generated the fifth costliest year in the last 34 for insured losses with $1.5 billion of losses from approximately 175,000 claims, according to estimates of the Insurance Information Institute.
Fitch said the weather will also likely impact the overall economy, particularly consumption. The Chief Economist at the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi estimates that the winter weather could impact first quarter GDP by half a percentage point.
According to Fitch, most of this winter’s claims are from the upper Midwest and New England regions. However, record cold temperatures in many regions and widespread snowfall have expanded the scope of weather-related losses this season and “it will take some time for insurers to completely tally the losses from this prolonged period of heavy snow and extreme cold,” Fitch said.
A few companies have provided some loss estimates. Aon estimated that January storms would cost the P/C industry more than $1.6 billion.
Allstate estimated that its pre-tax losses related to catastrophes for January 2014 would be $277 million while Chubb reported a preliminary estimate of $150 million to $200 million of pre-tax losses from two events in early January. Also, Cincinnati Financial estimated catastrophe losses of $65 to $85 million from winter storms.