Insurers 2000 Cat Losses Total $4.3 Billion, 53 Percent Below 10-Year Average

January 24, 2001

U.S. property/casualty insurers paid $4.3 billion in catastrophe claims, making 2000 the second-lowest year for catastrophe losses in the last 10, according to estimates by Insurance Services Office’s Property Claim Services unit.

The year’s 24 natural disasters produced 1.4 million catastrophe claims, also the second lowest since 1991. Catastrophe losses in 2000 were 53 percent below the 10-year average for insured-property losses of $9.1 billion per year, the ISO unit’s year-end analysis shows.

Last year’s 24 catastrophes were also well below the 33 events-per-year average of the last 10 years. Catastrophe losses also were relatively modest in fourth quarter 2000 – $545 million from four events that generated 210,000 claims, compared with two events and 130,000 claims in the period a year earlier.

Two of the four events were December winter storms that blanketed 13 states under snow in the South, Midwest and the Northeast. In 2000, personal lines accounted for 44 percent of the total catastrophe losses, auto 29 percent and commercial properties the rest, a significant shift from the last four years when personal lines accounted for almost 60 percent, commercial properties slightly above 30 percent, and vehicles less than 10 percent.

Heavy rain and flooding, such as the one in south Florida in early October that primarily affected dwellings and vehicles, contributed to the shift. ISO’s year-end analysis also shows insurers largely escaped hurricane damage last year.

No strong storms made landfall in the U.S. In 2000, 35 states sustained insured-property damage from catastrophes. Texas led in losses – $1.2 billion from six events. Louisiana ranked second with $523 million in insured losses, followed by: South Carolina, $204 million; Pennsylvania, $175 million; Florida, $158 million; Illinois, $143 million; New Mexico, $140 million; Arkansas, $131 million; Wisconsin, $125 million; and New York, $119 million.

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