Everest Re Cites Social Inflation for $400M Prior-Year Reserve Charge

By | January 27, 2021

Everest Re is the most recent insurance and reinsurance company to announce catastrophe and COVID losses in advance of fourth-quarter earnings, but Everest’s disclosure on Monday also addressed a boost in prior-year casualty reserves.

“The decisive reserving actions we are announcing today recognize the social inflation trends affecting the overall U.S. casualty market and enhance our already strong balance sheet,” said Everest Re Group President and Chief Executive Officer Juan Andrade in a statement announcing that Everest is increasing the reserves by $400 million.

The action comes as the result of an annual review of all reinsurance and insurance reserves, Everest said, noting that the reserve addition—which is all in the company’s reinsurance segment—represents 3.0 percent of net loss reserves as of Sept. 30, 2020.

The reserve strengthening is primarily in long-tail classes for the 2015-2018 accident years—notably general liability, professional lines, and auto liability.

The charge also includes actions on non-catastrophe property lines, primarily for the 2017-2019 accident years and driven by a few large losses to aggregate programs, the Everest Re announcement said.

“We have proactively acted on the affected portfolios and we have confidence in our in-force book. We are bullish about our future and the earnings-generating power of our franchise,” Andrade said.

Everest also announced a $70 million estimate of pre-tax net catastrophe losses for the fourth quarter 2020, net of reinsurance and reinstatement premiums, related to the impact of Hurricanes Delta, Zeta, Eta, Iota, and the Queensland Australia Hailstorm. While $60 million of the figure falls in the reinsurance segment, the other $10 million is for insurance.

Everest is also estimating pre-tax net COVID-19 losses for the fourth quarter 2020 of $76 million primarily for third-party lines—$56 million in the Everest’s reinsurance segment and $20 million in the insurance segment.

Through the first nine months of 2020, Everest estimated $435 million worth of COVID-related losses.

Everest said that 80 percent of the $511 million total COVID provision is IBNR.

Putting everything together, Everest said that full-year 2020 net income is expected to come out in the $475-$525 million range, with operating income of $275-$325 million.

Other recent announcements of catastrophe and COVID losses have come from Arch Capital and RenaissanceRe.

In an announcement last last week, Arch said that fourth-quarter 2020 net pretax catastrophe losses for across its property and casualty insurance and reinsurance segments would likely fall in the $155-$165 million, for Hurricanes Delta and Zeta and other minor global events, as well as updated loss estimates for catastrophes that occurred during the 2020 third quarter. Arch’s COVID estimates are unchanged from the third quarter.

A week earlier, RenaissanceRe estimated that losses from weather-related catastrophe events in the third and fourth quarters of 2020 would have a net negative impact of roughly $170 million on fourth-quarter operating results, and that losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic would have an estimated net negative fourth-quarter impact of roughly $175 million.

RenRe’s COVID estimate relates primarily $165 million of losses in the property segment, principally IBNR for business interruption coverage, with the balance pertaining to the casualty and specialty segment.

RenaissanceRe was scheduled to report on Tuesday.

Travelers, which reported a 50 percent jump in net income to $1.3 billion for the fourth-quarter last Thursday, said its fourth-quarter results actually benefited from lower net catastrophe losses ($29 million vs. $85 million for fourth-quarter 2019) and higher net favorable prior-year loss development ($180 million vs. $60 million).

About Susanne Sclafane

Sclafane is Executive Editor of Carrier Management, a publication of Wells Media Group serving property/casualty insurance carrier executives. She is a media professional with deep background in the P/C insurance industry including 25 years as editor and reporter for trade magazines, online news services, digital journals. Her prior experience includes 14 years as a casualty actuary. More from Susanne Sclafane

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