Fitch: Hawaii Storms Shouldn’t Hurt Cat Bonds

August 12, 2014

Insured losses stemming from two Hawaii hurricanes won’t break the bank, in large part because both storms diminished in intensity or avoided a direct hit.

Fitch Ratings concluded in a review of the situation that outstanding catastrophe bonds including the state in their exposure to hurricane/named storm risk should not see any losses materialize because the weather outcome was relatively benign.

“While there are numerous outstanding catastrophe bonds that include Hawaii in their exposure to hurricane/named storm forecast for the two storms and the relatively small insured loss expectations from the events, Fitch does not expect losses to materialize for any outstanding catastrophe bond,” the ratings agency said.

hurricaneHurricane Iselle, initially at Category 4, was downgraded to a tropical storm Aug. 8 as it hit the state. Following that Hurricane Julio diminished in intensity and passed hundreds of miles north over the weekend.

Fitch Ratings evaluated insured losses thus far from both events and found that both are manageable so far, but the largest primary insurance writers in Hawaii could see the storms depress their 2014 third-quarter earnings.

According to Fitch, the insurers likely to take the greatest hit from the double-storm attack, which included flooding, heavy rainfall, wind, and resulting business and tourist disruption, are: State Farm Group; Allstate Insurance Group; USAA Group; Zephyr Insurance Co.; and First Insurance Co. of Hawaii. Those the largest homeowners exposures in both events, the ratings agency said.

Fitch determined that First Insurance Co. of Hawaii, American International Group, Fireman’s Fund Group, Centauri Specialty Insurance Co. and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group have the largest affected market share in Hawaii in terms of commercial lines.

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