U.S. Insured Catastrophe Losses from 13 Events in Q1 Add Up to Worst in Decade

May 5, 2016

Catastrophe activity in the U.S. led to $3.8 billion in insured losses in 29 states during the 2016 first quarter, with much of the damage hitting Texas. Those events were the worst in a decade in terms of frequency and severity, according to a new industry report.

“The first quarter is usually mild … since the major perils are hail and winter storm,” the Property Claims Services unit of Verisk Insurance Solutions said in its first-quarter 2016 catastrophe review, which encompassed 13 catastrophe events.

PCS added in its report that the results exceed the 10-year average (2007-2016) of $3 billion in losses “and are considerably above the 7.6 events per first quarter” during that typical period.

In last year’s first quarter, domestic catastrophe insured losses came in at $3.6 billion, just under this first quarter’s total. PCS said the Q1 2016 numbers reflect a “continuation of trend of increased catastrophe event frequency.”

Personal losses at $2.7 billion, accounted for 69 percent of first-quarter activity, PCS said. Auto losses and commercial losses followed, at 21 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Texas led the pack with $1.9 billion of insured losses out of the $3.8 billion U.S. total during the first quarter, attributable to five separate weather events. California came in second, with $240 million in insured losses through four events. Illinois, with $210 million in losses from two catastrophe events, placed third. Louisiana landed in fourth place, with $200 million in insured losses from four catastrophe events. New York was in the No. 5 slot, with $150 million in insured losses from three catastrophe events.

Some of the first-quarter U.S. storms packed a serious wallop. One storm alone caused $1.1 billion in insured losses when it hit Texas during the quarter, PCS noted.

That $3.8 billion total may not be final. PCS said that the total could still rise because “two late-quarter events are still being investigated.”

Source: PCS/Verisk Insurance Solutions

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