U.S. property and casualty insurers will pay $1.71 billion to homeowners and businesses for insured property losses from seven catastrophic events in the first quarter of this year, according to initial estimates from Insurance Services Office Inc.’s Property Claim Services Unit (PCS). That compares with $1.85 billion in catastrophe losses from five events in the first quarter of 1999.
The worst first quarter for catastrophe losses was in 1994, when losses hit $14.5 billion, primarily because of the Northridge earthquake in southern California. The seven catastrophes this year affected 25 states, spanning most of the eastern half of the United States.
Texas topped the list with $990 million in insured property damage, including the damage inflicted when tornadoes hit Fort Worth and neighboring communities in late March. The next five states in magnitude of catastrophe loss are: Louisiana, $188 million; Kentucky, $80 million; Georgia, $60 million; Massachusetts, $40 million; and North Carolina, $40 million. Texas and Louisiana were each affected by four catastrophes during the first quarter.
PCS defines a catastrophe as an event that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property/casualty policyholders and insurers.
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